I beg to move,
That this House
has considered e-petitions 241584, 235138 and 243319 relating to leaving the European Union.
It is a real pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Gray, and to lead this incredibly important debate on behalf of the Petitions Committee. As hon. Members will be aware, the Committee decided to schedule a single debate on all three Brexit-related petitions because we wanted to ensure that all three, having reached the 100,000 signature threshold, were debated as soon as possible, so that they would not be overtaken by events.
It is entirely coincidental that the date is 1 April, but I must confess to hoping right up until noon that the Prime Minister was at some point going to reveal to the nation that the Government’s entire handling of Brexit has actually been the most painstaking and elaborate April fool’s day hoax in history, and that she does in fact have a plan to get us out of this mess. Regrettably, that did not happen, and we are still in a national crisis.
Of course, as is now inevitable for anything related to Brexit, one of the e-petitions has already been overtaken by events: 29 March has been and gone and, three days later, we remain members of the European Union. As such, with just under two weeks to go until the next deal or no deal deadline, we find ourselves through the looking glass, debating potential Brexit outcomes here in Westminster Hall at exactly the same time as colleagues in the main Chamber deliberate the ways out of this ludicrous situation. A national conversation should clearly have been led and listened to by the Prime Minister right at the start of this historic process, rather than one being commenced against her will just before midnight on the Brexit clock.