European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:17 pm on 5th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Mandelson Lord Mandelson Labour 1:17 pm, 5th September 2019

Perhaps my recollection is at fault, but I do not remember a huge amount of debate about the respective merits of a soft and hard Brexit, let alone a no-deal Brexit.

In conclusion, I do not think that you can arrive at a clear choice about how we leave the European Union by means of a general election in which so many issues, subjects and personalities are at play. We should look to a clear-choice referendum where the options are properly explained and a full debate is had. The public can give their final say one way or the other about how—and, if the how on offer is unsatisfactory, if—we eventually leave the European Union.

It may be that the Government want one of these options to be a no deal. If so, it is up to the Government to put forward a no-deal option in a clear, final-say referendum. If they want to do that, so be it. If they have exhausted all the alternative negotiating possibilities, let that be put fairly and squarely to the public in a referendum. It must be a clear alternative—a clear choice—that the public are asked to make. Without it, I am afraid we are never going to find a way of resolving what is a most acute conundrum.