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Kwasi Kwarteng: I am not going to second-guess your decision on the meaningful vote, Mr Speaker, but there is a body of opinion, which I happen to share, that the circumstances will have changed—we will have had EU input on the timetable—and that it may well be argued that those changed circumstances allow another meaningful vote.
Kwasi Kwarteng: As far as I am aware, we have not discussed any more financial commitments outside those detailed in part 5 of the withdrawal agreement.
Kwasi Kwarteng: What I say is: back the deal.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I cannot recommend the words of my hon. Friend enough. We all stood on manifestos in this place that committed to honour the 2016 referendum result. Some Members of this House have essentially sought to flout that and turn their backs on the strong commitments that they made and they will have to answer for that. The Government are still committed to honouring the referendum and leaving the...
Kwasi Kwarteng: It is not Government policy, and never has been, to flout the 2016 referendum result, going back on what the people voted for, or to revoke article 50.
Kwasi Kwarteng: As I have said, I would be very surprised if the Prime Minister does not make a statement on Monday. Downing Street is, I think, committed to that. What I say is that a deal is the best way forward. That is the best way to leave the EU in an orderly way.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am sure the Prime Minister will be coming to the Dispatch Box to give an account of what happened in the various conversations that she has had with EU27 leaders. In her statement, I think she was essentially reflecting a feeling among constituents—certainly among my constituents—that the House of Commons needs to get round a decision and move this thing forward.
Kwasi Kwarteng: The hon. Gentleman will understand that the Bill will only be introduced subject to the House voting through the meaningful vote. That is, I am afraid, standard process in these matters.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I agree with the hon. Lady to a point. If the meaningful vote is voted down, it would be reasonable to have a wide debate in the House, as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster suggested two weeks ago, to find what the House would tolerate and how it sees things going forward. I agree with that.
Kwasi Kwarteng: In all this noise and debate, the course outlined by my hon. Friend is the most secure one. It is the best one for delivering on certainty for our businesses. I, along with him, will continue to support the deal.
Kwasi Kwarteng: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister expressed the frustration that millions of people across this country feel at the inability of this House to move the debate forward and to honour its commitments to leave the EU and to honour the referendum of 2016.
Kwasi Kwarteng: All I said—I want to repeat it—is that, in the event of the House voting down the meaningful vote, it would not be unreasonable to have subsequent votes to find out what the House actually supported.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I know that the Prime Minister has worked tirelessly to get the deal across the line, as have other members of her Government. We still maintain that this deal is the best way in which to leave the EU in an orderly and timely fashion.
Kwasi Kwarteng: The hon. Gentleman very ably sets out the alternative that the EU has suggested, but he will understand that it is conditional on what happens in the meaningful vote. If the meaningful vote goes through, we are leaving on 22 May. If it does not, 12 April is in play.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I have said that we are committed to having the meaningful vote next week, and that once the meaningful vote is decided one way or the other, we will be looking to introduce an SI to change the exit day.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I commend the hon. Gentleman for his remarks about the increased violence and threats faced by all Members of this House; it is right to observe this issue, particularly as we commemorate two years since people lost their lives in an attack on this place. With respect to the process, we still have to have the meaningful vote. The hon. Gentleman predicts that it will be voted down. If it is,...
Kwasi Kwarteng: The technicalities of the business of the House are a matter for the Leader of the House. The hon. Gentleman says he is confused, but he ably set out the path for next week. We want to have a debate and a meaningful vote. In either eventuality after the meaningful vote, we will be looking to introduce an SI to amend the exit date. That is a very clear path.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I assure the House that the Prime Minister has been absolutely committed to delivering on the result of the referendum—on the fact that we have to leave the EU. I believe, as does the Prime Minister, that the best way to do so is with a deal, and I will continue to argue passionately for that.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I would say that the confusion and contradiction sit on the Opposition Front Bench. Labour Front Benchers do not know whether they want to revoke article 50, do not know whether they want to honour the referendum and their commitment to leave, and do not know whether they want to be in a customs union or not. They give totally contradictory and confused answers. The Government have been...
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am very pleased that the tweet confirms what I have been saying. I have consistently said that the SI would be introduced early next week, and Monday or Tuesday conforms to what I said earlier from this Dispatch Box.