Leaving the European Union — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:52 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Labour, Newcastle upon Tyne North 4:52 pm, 1st April 2019

The right hon. Gentleman seems a bit stuck in the past. What we are talking about today is what we directly face. We could rerun the 2016 referendum campaign. We can debate the rights and wrongs, and the arguments for and against, over and over. I did not vote for the referendum or to invoke article 50, for the very reason that I could see us setting a clock ticking on a negotiation without an agreed strategy or plan. Many Members did not vote to invoke article 50, and many Members who are in the House now were not even elected at the time of the referendum. We had a general election subsequently, and that general election returned a hung Parliament, so we are where we are. The petition considers the immediate possibility that is staring us in the face—a no-deal exit from the EU, which is the legal default position if nothing changes today, or this week, to remove that possibility for 12 April.

Rather than going over the history, I am interested to know what the right hon. Gentleman thinks. Is he genuinely happy for this economy just to be driven off a cliff, with all the ramifications that flow from that?