As Parliament continued to debate the triggering of Article 50, I intervened in Yvette Cooper’s speech:
Stephen Kinnock: Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Government could request an extension to the article 50 process if we have not been able to conclude a positive deal? Does she also agree that a request for such an extension would be greatly enhanced and strengthened if it had a mandate from Parliament behind it? That should involve a partnership, with the legislature and the Executive working together to strengthen the national interest vis-à-vis our European partners.
Yvette Cooper: Again, that would certainly be one option. My understanding is that if the European Parliament voted down the deal, it would get the opportunity to say that the negotiations should be extended, but the UK Parliament would currently not get that opportunity. The purpose of the new clause is not to extend the negotiations—we should be trying implement the referendum decision—but if Parliament judges that there is a better offer on the table that would give us a better Brexit deal, we need safeguards to prevent the Government from running hell for leather towards an option that is bad for Britain.