“What a mess! We get one thing one day and another thing the next. Yesterday, the Secretary of State was asked in the Brexit Committee,
“Could the vote in our Parliament be after March 2019?” The answer he gave was, “Yes, it could be.”
Later in the day the Prime Minister had a go at correcting him, and then his own spokesperson had to clarify his remarks. Today, he says that the vote will be before the deal is concluded. That is not good enough. May I remind him that the commitment he has just referred to, made at the Dispatch Box, that we would have a meaningful vote was made when the Government were on the verge of losing a vote on a Labour amendment to the article 50 Bill to give Parliament that vote? That commitment cannot now casually be dispensed with.
The text of article 50 is clear: there can be no deal until the European Parliament has approved it and voted on it. The nonsense we heard yesterday about “nanoseconds” has to be put in that proper context. It would be wholly unacceptable if time was found for the European Parliament to vote on the deal before it is concluded but time was not found in this House. Does the Secretary of State expect us to sit here watching on our screens the European Parliament proceedings while we are told that we do not have time? I do not think so. We need a cast-iron guarantee that that will not happen.
The Secretary of State has repeatedly asked us to accept his word at the Dispatch Box.
Given the events of the past 24 hours, will he now accept the amendments tabled to the withdrawal Bill that would put into law a meaningful article 50 vote, so that we all know where we stand and do not have to repeat this exercise?”