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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:32 pm on 9th January 2020.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 1:32 pm, 9th January 2020

I do not want to go off on a tangent. Despite what I described earlier as your wisdom and benevolence, Mr Deputy Speaker, you would not let me, but I will just say this to the hon. Gentleman. This Prime Minister went to the people, at some risk to himself and to others on the Conservative Benches, and put a very clear message to them. He essentially said, “I cannot make progress in the current parliamentary arrangement because of the arithmetic. Do you want me to deliver Brexit? Do you want to get Brexit done or don’t you?” The British people said, “That is exactly what we want you to do.” They have sent us here to do just that. Any further prevarication or hesitation will, frankly, ring hollow in the ears of those people. I simply advise the hon. Gentleman that in victory the test of character is humility, but in defeat the test of character is being wise enough to learn the lessons of that defeat. One or two people on the Opposition Benches have learnt those lessons and have made that clear, but others need to do so very quickly indeed.

I know that others want to contribute, so I will bring my remarks to a conclusion by saying this. The Bill is the first step not on a trip to a different place but on a return journey: a return journey for this United Kingdom to hope, to patriotism and to greatness.