The Letwin Amendment was passed with a majority of 16 votes: 322 to 306. In response, the government cancelled Saturday's vote on the actual deal itself. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government would introduce legislation, next week, needed for Brexit on 31 October. This is the PM's statement:
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful to you, I am very grateful to the House of Commons staff, everybody who’s put themselves out, everybody who has come to give up their time in this debate today.
It’s been a very important debate, an exceptional moment for our country, an exceptional moment for our Parliament.
Alas the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has been effectively been passed up because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning.
But I wish the House to know that I’m not daunted or dismayed by this particular result and I think it probably became likely once it was obvious that the amendment from my Right Honourable Friend the Member for West Dorset was going to remain on the order paper.
I continue in the very strong belief that the best thing for the UK and for the whole of Europe is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31.
And to anticipate the questions that are coming from the benches opposite, I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so.
I will tell our friends and colleagues in the EU exactly what I’ve told everyone in the last 88 days that I’ve served as Prime Minister: that further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.
So next week the Government will introduce the legislation needed for us to leave the EU with our new deal on October 31.
And I hope that our European Union colleagues and friends will not be attracted as the benches opposite are by delay. I don’t think they’ll be attracted by delay.
And I hope that then Honourable Members faced with a choice of our new deal, our new deal for the UK and the European Union, will change their minds because it was pretty close today. I hope that they will change their minds and support this deal in overwhelming numbers.
Since I became Prime Minister I‘ve said we must get on and get Brexit done on October 31 so that this country can move on.
Mr Speaker, that policy remains unchanged, no delays, and I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on October 31 and I continue to commend this excellent deal, Mr Speaker, to the House.
KJM Today Opinion
Much has been made of the narrow majority of Leave over Remain in the referendum, held what seems like a lifetime ago. Phrases like 'The Will Of the People' are, and always have been, inappropriate when describing that result. Clearly, it was not.
However, it was the will of the majority, and as we have consistently said, in a democracy, the majority wins. The losers must bear it. What the losers can also do is campaign to see a different result at a subsequent poll, but they cannot change the result itself. They lost and that defeat must be accepted.
The 'Remain' movement has never accepted that it lost. Those who wish the UK to remain as a member of the EU have never accepted that there is a will, that of the majority, however narrow. The Remain movement have never campaigned for a different result at the next suitable opportunity.
With that in mind, the result of the Letwin Amendment today was also narrow. Does this mean the government should ignore it (as Remain wish to do with the referendum)? No. It does not.
But - and this is vitally important - the Letwin Amendment is yet another example of the minority wishing to force the majority to bend to its will.
Oliver Letwin and those MPs who voted for it, voted to delay brexit.
All those MPs have betrayed democracy, they have betrayed the country, they have betrayed the majority of people who voted leave and yes, they have betrayed those who wish to remain as well.
They have done so because the freedom remain protesters have to demonstrate as they have done today is now under threat and it may be that right that is overturned and disregarded next.
The moment the will of the majority is ignored is the moment democracy dies.
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Published 19 October 2019