Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
Will my hon. Friend give way?
Not just now. [Hon. Members: “Ooh!] I have given way quite a few times. I am now going to make some progress and get on to the amendments.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, notwithstanding what happened in the past, the reality is that we have had the referendum and 52% have voted to leave, so it is now imperative that we all come together as much as we can to get this right? We need to get the best deal and the best legislation to deliver that deal. Most importantly, we must return sovereignty to this Parliament, which should have its proper meaningful vote and say—deal or no deal.
My right hon. Friend leads me back to the serious core of this debate. It will be disastrous if we do not get it right on this important matter—the question how precisely the Bill sets out the timing of the departure that is going to take place.
Does the right hon. Lady agree that we simply have not had the debates? That, of course, is not lost on the European Union, and it is also not lost on the people of this country. If we had those debates and if we had a real say on what Brexit will look like, we would begin to form a consensus and we would begin to bring people together across the United Kingdom in getting that good deal, reuniting so many divided communities, families and even friends.
I agree with the right hon. Lady. The truth is that the plans for our Brexit future have to be sustainable and have to command consent. The plans will have implications for many decades to come. They have to give us the chance to heal the Brexit divide across the country from the referendum, and they have to give Parliament the chance to debate the details and to have a proper, honest debate about what it will mean across the country.
Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con)
I have often taken part in such debates as these and felt rather in the minority in opposing a new European treaty, and I wonder whether I am still in a minority in the House today, as it probably has more remainers than leavers in it, which rather colours the judgment of those taking part in the debate.
Oh move on, for God’s sake!
Will my hon. Friend give way?
I will, but I have been told to take very little time.
I am very interested in my hon. Friend’s point about the fact that the date should have been in the Bill. It was an important point, so will he tell us why he did not table an amendment to insert the date?
Would I be telling tales out of school if I said that I had thought about it, and discussed it? In fact, there was plenty of friendly discussion about it, but in the end the Government decided the matter for themselves, and I support the Government. I think that, given that we are in a slight minority in this Parliament and we have to deliver a very difficult Brexit and take part in difficult negotiations, it is incumbent on all Conservative Members to support the Government whenever we can.
Does the hon. Gentleman share my concern that what he describes is a blatant piece of bullying that goes to the very heart of democracy? None of the people who have been named—I take it as a badge of honour—want to delay or thwart Brexit; we just want a good Brexit that works for everybody in our country. That is not a lot to ask for in a democracy.
I wholeheartedly agree with the right hon. Lady. I know that she is not someone to be pushed around. In fact, when I looked at the front page of The Daily Telegraph, I saw a whole range of principled Conservative politicians with whom I have a number of disagreements, but I look to them as distinguished parliamentarians who always act in what they believe to be the best interests of their constituents and their country.