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My Lords, this has been a very constructive and focused debate, and I thank all noble Lords who have contributed to it. Unsurprisingly, we have heard a range of views expressed on all sides of the House about the Bill and the reasons why we find ourselves debating it, so I think that a helpful place for me to start is to return briefly to first base by re-emphasising the key points made earlier by my noble friend the Leader of the House.
Why do we believe that a general election is now necessary? The hung Parliament that we are in, complicated by the divergent views of elected Members across all parties on the most significant political and constitutional issue of our day, has created an impasse. It is an impasse that the Government are clear cannot be allowed to continue.
The withdrawal agreement negotiated by my right honourable friend Theresa May was rejected on three separate occasions earlier this year. The Prime Minister has successfully negotiated a new deal and the other place passed the revised withdrawal agreement Bill at Second Reading. However, by also voting down the Government’s programme Motion, they prevented the progress of that Bill and, hence, this country’s departure from the European Union by
The noble Baroness, Lady Smith, said that she accepted that there should be a general election. I wish that she had done so with as much good grace as the noble Lord, Lord Newby. All the main political parties now agree that a general election is needed in order for the British people to have their say, and we earnestly hope to provide a new Parliament with a way forward. So this is a short and simple Bill, which sets the date of the election as