I will not spend what precious minutes I have talking about what the people voted for in December, because, frankly, the mandate given to us by the British people should already be reverberating around the Chamber. The mandate was clear: we were expected to leave the European Union. Certainly, as a member of the Conservative and Unionist party, I have an obligation to do everything that I can to protect the integrity of the Union.
I do not think that we can ignore the context of this Bill. We are in the midst of a negotiation. In fact, we are quite near the end of it; we are almost there. It is a negotiation that both parties entered into in good faith and it was a reciprocal obligation. Clearly, the European Union is not acting in good faith, and, naturally, it will do everything in its own interests. Why would it not? It will want to do everything that it can to make it harder for us to do a deal, but threatening the integrity of our Union is not negotiation in good faith and it goes just too far.
Too often, I hear that the EU is some noble entity—as is so often argued not only in many parts of the Chamber, but across the country—but it is one that has no objection to overturning the mandate of the people when it does not get what it wants. It has a track record that is anything but noble, but that is not us. This Bill protects the Union and also says that Northern Ireland is part of our Union and is not a negotiating football. Our job is to strengthen the hands of our negotiating team. This Bill is a plan B, but it is a plan B that says we will not be bullied. It is a plan B that says that this is one mandate that the European Union cannot ignore.