Mark Pritchard calls on the Opposition to be optimistic about changes to the backstop

27th February 2019

Speaking in a debate on leaving the European Union, Mark Pritchard calls on the Opposition to be more optimistic and asks if the Prime Minister secures changes to the backstop whether the Opposition will support the deal.

Given that Labour party policy on a second referendum was different a week ago from what it is today, may I encourage the right hon. and learned Gentleman to be more optimistic? The Prime Minister could indeed get changes to the backstop—a time limit, or a get-out clause for later on. If she does make those changes—if she is successful—given what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just said, will he then support the Government in order that we avoid no deal?

I understand the point and the force with which it is put. Given the conversations that have gone on here and in Brussels, I have to say that I really do not see the prospect that after 94 days of trying, there will be a breakthrough in the next seven days. If there is, we must all come back to the House; there will be a statement from the Prime Minister and we will consider what she says. It will only be on the backstop, and we have accepted the inevitability of the backstop, so it would be more to try to solve a problem on her own Benches than with the Opposition.