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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:48 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood 5:48 pm, 1st April 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Gray. The Brexit negotiations over the past two years have culminated in a constitutional crisis and the inability of our Government to resolve the single biggest issue that our country has faced in a generation. Our Prime Minister has refused to take any responsibility for her role in that crisis, yet it is she who has led us to the current impasse. Faced with a country split down the middle in its opinion on Brexit, the Prime Minister said almost nothing on Brexit between July 2016 and January 2017, except “Brexit means Brexit”. She failed at that early stage to chart a way forward that could bring the country together: a basis for negotiation with the EU that placed the national interest and protecting our economy, employment rights and environmental protections at the heart of the negotiating objectives.

In January 2017, the Prime Minister finally announced her Brexit red lines, which were essentially the red lines of the European Research Group—a hard-line sub-group of the Tory party not in any way representative of a majority of the country and advocating for the most divisive and damaging version of Brexit possible.