On the night the Government lost a vote on Brexit in the House, I spoke in favour of the amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve MP. It is vital that Parliament has meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal and the opportunity to send the government back to secure a better deal, if the one the come to us with is inadequate.
Stephen Kinnock: I rise to support the—
Mr Grieve: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Stephen Kinnock: Yes, of course.
Mr Grieve: While I was briefly out of the Chamber, an announcement was made of a Government concession, but I have to say, it is too late. I am sorry, but you cannot treat the House in this fashion. My hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Antoinette Sandbach) may agree with me that the best way of getting progress in this area is by moving amendment 7 and thereafter we can co-operate with the Government in trying to achieve its aim.
Stephen Kinnock: I rise to support amendment 7, tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve). I have listened with great interest to all the excellent speeches and interventions by right hon. and hon. Members this afternoon and, for me, three key themes have emerged. First, there is real disagreement about the meaning of “meaningful”. Secondly, there is confusion about the terms of article 50. Thirdly, there is an issue of trust.
On the first point, it is crystal clear that this vote cannot be meaningful if it is binary. It has to be taken on the basis of us having an opportunity to instruct the Government to extend article 50 if necessary. On the second point, article 50 clearly gives the Government the opportunity to seek an extension of the period, and there is no reason whatever why the EU27 would reject that request. It is enshrined in the treaties, and for that to have meaning, they would clearly have to listen to our request. Why on earth would they not accept that request if it was in our mutual interest to do so?
Anna Soubry: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that a moment comes in one’s life when, on the most important issue that this nation has faced in decades, we have to set aside party differences and even party loyalty and be true to our principles and to what we believe in? It could be that that moment is now.
Stephen Kinnock: I agree absolutely with the right hon. Lady. I pay tribute to her and to a range of other right hon. and hon. Members across the House. This is not an easy choice to make. It is always difficult in these circumstances when there is a huge amount of interest and focus on what we are about to do in this House. It is essential that hon. Members stick with their principles, and sometimes that means putting country before party. I pay tribute to every right hon. and hon. Member who will do that this evening. This is indeed a matter of trust. The challenge that we face is that if this provision is not put on the face of the Bill, we will not have the confidence and the assurance that we in this place can indeed take back control and reassert the sovereignty of this place, which is what 17 million people voted for on 23 June 2016.
Sir Oliver Letwin: rose –
Stephen Kinnock: I am afraid I must push on, because we are moving towards the deadline.
Having paid tribute to those right hon. and hon. Members for what they are doing this evening, I commend the terms of amendment 7 to the House. I will be honoured to go through the Division Lobby with those right hon. and hon. Members this evening.