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Brexit: People’s Vote - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:27 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 2:27 pm, 25th October 2018

I am merely making the obvious point that seeking to provide an avenue to overturn the result, to suggest that we may change our minds—and many on that side profoundly disagreed with the referendum result—provides an incentive for the EU to offer us a bad deal.

Continuing calls for a second referendum are irresponsible and will only serve to damage the negotiations—a point that we have just discussed. Let us be under no illusion: it is very clear that those advocating a second people’s vote wish to subvert the instruction given to us by the British people and to reverse the result. We have been very clear that this Government will never accept a second referendum. The British people voted to leave the EU, and we will be leaving on 29 March 2019. That is why, for over two years, we have worked to deliver a deal that sees the UK leave the EU. Our EU partners need to be clear that this Government will not overturn the result of the referendum. I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, that, despite the reports, there is no war-gaming going on in our department. The second referendum is not going to happen, and nobody in Whitehall is making any preparations for the unlikely event.

At the heart of the vote to leave the European Union was a wider call for change, which should neither be ignored nor undermined. As this Government deliver on the democratic decision of the British people to leave the European Union, which we will do on 29 March next year, we will also build a stronger, more meritocratic Britain. There can be no second-guessing this Government’s mandate to do exactly that.