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Leaving the EU: Sovereignty

Volume 660: debated on Thursday 16 May 2019

8. What assessment he has made of the potential level of sovereignty that the UK will have after leaving the EU. (910924)

I know that the hon. Gentleman has consistently championed leaving the EU on the grounds of sovereignty. The referendum was a call to reclaim the UK’s sovereignty by ensuring that the decisions that affect us are made by those whom we elect. On borders, free movement will end, with Parliament deciding our domestic immigration policy in the national interest. On money, vast annual payments to the EU will end, and the UK will leave the EU budget. On laws, EU law in the UK will end, as will the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. All of this can be achieved by voting for the withdrawal agreement.

People voted in the referendum for the United Kingdom to be independent, democratic and self-governing, but the BBC recently broadcast a comment by the Belgian Liberal politician, Guy Verhofstadt, about the UK becoming a “colony” of the EU. What are the Government going to do to avoid such a humiliation?

I think the hon. Gentleman will recognise that some of these statements may be made to provoke rather than necessarily to inform. We have a very clear agreement, in the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration, on the UK coming out of and separating itself from the European Union. That is something that Members across this House, bearing in mind the manifestos on which they were elected, should get on and support.

The BBC documentary, “Brexit: Behind Closed Doors”, was a devastating exposé of the incompetence of the Government’s Brexit negotiating strategy. It showed the contempt the EU has for the Prime Minister’s stance, and showed that the EU has run rings round us at every opportunity. With two exit dates having come and gone, despite over 100 assurances from the Prime Minister on the Floor of the House, is it not clear that the simplest, cheapest, cleanest and most honest way to deliver Brexit is to leave with no deal on 31 October?

If my hon. Friend had voted as the Secretary of State and I have voted, we would have left the EU already.

A YouGov poll published today indicates that a majority of people are not happy with the European Union and feel that it may break up in the next 20 years. There is also widespread concern about the political elite both at European and national levels. Does this not show that at some time in the near future, Europe is going to go through major reform, and is it not better for us to be there and be part of that reform? Should we not therefore now be considering, in the light of the fact that there is no majority here for no deal or for a second referendum, revoking article 50?

I admire the hon. Gentleman’s honesty in setting out that his position is clearly to revoke article 50. These are arguments that were made before the referendum. We had a negotiation with the European Union, and we put that approach to the people in the referendum and said that they should decide. I think we should listen to their decision and follow it through.