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House of Commons Hansard

Negotiated Settlement: Referendum

14 December 2017
Volume 633
  • 16. If he will make it his policy to require the negotiated settlement on the UK’s exit from the EU to be approved by referendum. [902947]

  • Our exit from the EU is a result of a long democratic process. Parliament passed the European Union Referendum Act 2015 and passed the decision on whether to leave or remain to the people of the UK. The referendum saw a clear majority of people vote to leave the EU, and the Government were clear that we would respect the result. Parliament then voted to pass the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 and to invoke article 50 to begin the formal process of leaving the EU. Parliament is now debating the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. This has been a long democratic process, and it continues to be one. There will not be a second referendum.

  • Recent polls show there is now a clear majority in favour of a referendum on the deal. Is it any wonder that this Government have lost control? Yesterday, Parliament took back control, and now the public want to take back control from the Tory party and the Democratic Unionist party. Will the Minister please explain to my constituents how a referendum on the deal—the first referendum on the facts—would be anti-democratic? Does he not trust them—

  • Order. [Interruption.] Order—when I say that, the hon. Lady must resume her seat. I think we have the thrust of it, but what is required—and I am trying to be helpful to the hon. Lady—in these situations is a question, not the development of an essay theme. I am sorry, but she must learn to appreciate the difference. The question was too long, and that should not happen again.

  • I am very tempted to point out the polling results of the Liberal Democrat party recently. The simple point to the hon. Lady is this: no opinion poll comes anywhere near the votes of 17.5 million people, which we will respect.

  • Following events in the Chamber last night, some prominent members of the remain campaign took to Twitter saying that this was another step towards their aim of preventing Brexit. Will the Secretary of State please confirm and reassure the 17.4 million people who voted to leave that this Government are absolutely committed to delivering a positive Brexit for this country?

  • Let me start by saying that I do not agree with the people who tweeted that that was the purpose of many of the people who voted last night—I think they did so in good faith. However, my hon. Friend is right. The aim of this Government is to take us out of the European Union. That is what we were instructed to do by the British people and that is what we will do.