Mark Pritchard ‘unenthusiastically’ supports the withdrawal agreement

12th March 2019

Following the legal change to the backstop where if the EU acts in bad faith the UK can remove itself, Mark Pritchard tells the Prime Minister that he will support the withdrawal agreement. He adds that the alternative is that Parliament will frustrate and delay it and possibly stop it altogether.

The Prime Minister will know that I did not support the withdrawal agreement at the last vote, and today I will support it unenthusiastically—forgive me, Prime Minister—because I completely agree with her that there is a danger that Brexit will be lost. There do not appear to be the votes in this House for no deal, but there certainly seem to be the votes for an extension of article 50. Neither of those options would deliver Brexit; they would frustrate and delay it and possibly stop it altogether. The main reason I am supporting the Government tonight is that there has been a definitive, material legal change on the backstop, which is that if the European Union acts in bad faith, the UK can permanently or temporarily remove itself.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I will come on to address that point a little later in my speech, but it is very clear. We have already had a vote in this House that said no to no deal, and those who want genuinely to deliver Brexit need to recognise that if this deal does not go through tonight, the House risks no Brexit at all.