Leaving the EU: Parliamentary Vote — [Ian Austin in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:39 pm on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 5:39 pm, 11th June 2018

It is as pleasure to begin summing up the debate. I commend Liz Twist for the detailed, well-informed way in which she presented the petitioners’ argument. Thank you, Mr Austin, for relaxing the dress code for those of us with a slightly different thermostat. Hon. Members will be immensely relieved to know that I do not intend to adopt the dress code that may have been sported by the hon. Lady’s constituents in Blaydon and people in other parts of the great city of Newcastle upon Tyne at the weekend—that might be a wee bit much for the parliamentary cameras.

We have had an interesting debate, but disappointingly a lot of hon. Members confused the question of a meaningful vote in the House of Commons with the question of a meaningful vote in another referendum. Frankly, that is disrespectful to the petitioners. I understand why people tend to conjoin the two proposals, but the arguments for and against them are completely different. I will focus on the argument for giving elected Members of Parliament a meaningful vote once we know the full details of the deal that has—or, heaven forbid, has not—been struck at the end of the negotiation process. Let us remember that the negotiation process has about four months to go, perhaps five, if we are lucky, so we are running out of time.

Chris Green made a stirring speech, but missed the point entirely. I even gave him the chance to come to the point when I asked him how many people who voted in the referendum said in their vote that they wanted to leave the customs union and the single market. The answer is absolutely none. I do not know how many of those 17.4 million people wanted to leave both of those institutions. Perhaps all of them did; perhaps none of them did. We gave people a simple, binary, either/or choice on a question that was far too complicated to be resolved in its entirety by such a vote.

It is worth reminding the hon. Gentleman that the manifesto on which his party got its only overall majority in this place in 25 years said that we would stay in the single market. The manifesto on which it threw away its overall majority—against what, to begin with, looked like an utterly disorganised and divided Opposition—was the one in which it said that we would leave the single market.