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My Lords, this party is absolutely sure that an early general election would deliver it many more seats. The same cannot be said for the Conservatives or Labour, yet we do not believe it is in the national interest to have one. There will be an election in the next year, and we are really looking forward to it.
Even if the deal passes by the narrowest of margins, it should still be put to the people, because it is so far from anything that anybody voted for in the referendum. Opponents of the referendum have, until now, seized on the fact that there was some ambiguity about what the questions might be. Clearly, to remain in the EU was always going to be one option, but it was unclear what the alternative would be. We now know. The alternative would be the Prime Minister’s deal, because even those in the Commons who have said in the past that no deal was an option—including the Prime Minister himself—now say that the deal is far superior to this. There is now near unanimity among Brexiteers that this is their desired outcome.
The deal before us today is significantly worse for the economy and the integrity of the UK than that negotiated by Mrs May. It deserves to be rejected. I had hoped that we in your Lordships’ House would have the opportunity to express that view today. That was not to be. However, we will have to play a part in dealing with the consequences of today’s vote, as any route now taken will involve legislation. At that point, I hope that we exert our powers to the full and help mitigate the costs to the country of this shameful, shameless Government.