Nadhim Zahawi backs Government on Article 50

12th October 2016
Nadhim Zahawi backs the Government’s right to trigger Article 50 in accordance with the will of the British people at the referendum on 23 June.

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way—the shadow Secretary of State would not give way—so I can now ask my question. I have listened carefully to the debate. The shadow Secretary of State talked about respecting the vote on 23 June, which made it clear that we are to leave the European Union. We cannot leave the EU without triggering article 50, when the negotiations will begin and the details that he wants to scrutinise will emerge. Should it not be the Government’s right to trigger article 50 as the instruction of the British people to go ahead, and then we begin the negotiation?

My hon. Friend is exactly right. That is the premise on which we are advancing. That is not to say—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins) waits a moment, I will give way. We will have proper scrutiny, and I will deal with that in a minute. We will not allow anyone to veto the decision of the British people—that is the point.

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way a second time. Does he agree with the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, when he says that we have to make Brexit work for the EU and for the United Kingdom, because if we do not it will make a mockery of democracy? That is not ideology.

He is right. Nobody involved in this exercise from the other side of the argument has ever pointed out quite how odd it is that fellow democracies—indeed, allies—threaten to punish each other for the exercise of democratic rights.

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