Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on Brexit to the House of Commons

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on Brexit to the House of Commons

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I shall make a statement on yesterday’s Supreme Court verdict and the way forward for this paralysed Parliament.

Three years ago, more people voted to leave the European Union than have ever voted for any party or proposition in our history.

Politicians of all parties promised the public that they would honour the result.

Sadly, many have since done all they could to abandon those promises and to overturn that democratic vote.

And after three years of dither and delay – that left this country at risk of being locked forever in the orbit of the EU – this government that I lead has been trying truly to get us out.

And most people – indeed most supporters of the party opposite — regardless of how they voted three years ago — think the referendum must be respected. They want Brexit done, I want Brexit done, people want us out on 31 October — with a new deal if possible but without if necessary.

64 days ago, I was told that Brussels would never reopen the Withdrawal Agreement. We are now discussing a reopened Withdrawal Agreement in the negotiations.

I was told that Brussels would never consider alternatives to the backstop – the trap that keeps the UK effectively in the EU but with no say.

We are now discussing those alternatives in the negotiations.

I was told Brussels would never consider arrangements that were not permanent. We are now discussing in the negotiations an arrangement that works on the principle of consent and is not permanent.

I was told there was no chance of a new deal but we are discussing a new deal.

And this is in spite of the best efforts of this Parliament to wreck our negotiations by their attempts to take No Deal off the table.

The truth is the majority in this Parliament are not opposed to the so-called No Deal — this Parliament does not want Brexit to happen at all.

Many of those who voted for the Surrender Act a few weeks ago said then that their intention was to stop a No Deal Brexit.

They have said every day since that Parliament must vote against ANY deal at all.

I think the people of this country can see perfectly clearly what is going on.

They know that this Parliament does not want to honour its promises to respect the referendum.

The people at home know that this Parliament will keep delaying, it will keep sabotaging the negotiations because they don’t want a deal.

Mr Speaker, the truth is that members opposite are living in a fantasy world. They really imagine – this is what they want to do – that they are going to cancel the first referendum, they are going to legislate for a second referendum.

And that Parliament will promise that this time, it really will respect that vote — and they think that the public will therefore vote to Remain and everyone will forget the last few years.

Mr Speaker — this is an extraordinary delusion, a fantasy, even greater than the communist fantasies peddled by the Leader of the Opposition. It will not happen.

The public don’t want another referendum – what they want and what they demand, that we honour the promise we made to the voters to respect the first referendum.

And they also want us to move on — to put Brexit behind us and focus on the NHS, on violent crime and on cutting the cost of living.

That is why I also brought forward a Queen’s Speech. My government intends to present a programme for life after Brexit.

But some members of this House could not stand that either. Instead of facing the voters, the opposition turned tail and fled from an election. Instead of deciding to let the voters decide, they ran to the courts instead.

And despite the fact that I followed the exact same process as my predecessors in calling a Queen’s Speech, the Supreme Court was asked to intervene in this process for the first time ever and it is absolutely no disrespect to the judiciary to say I think the Court was wrong to pronounce on what is essentially a political question at a time of great national controversy.

So we have Opposition MPs that block and delay everything running to the courts to block and delay even more — including blocking legislation to improve and invest in our NHS and keeping violent criminals in jail.

The people outside this place understand what is happening.

They know that nothing can disguise the truth about this Parliament.

It is not just that this Parliament is gridlocked, paralysed, refusing the deliver on the priorities of the people.

It is not just unable to move forward. It’s worse than that Mr Speaker.

Out of sheer political selfishness and political cowardice members opposite are unwilling to move aside and let the people have their say.

They see MPs demanding that the people be given a say, then running scared from the election that would provide them with one.

And worst of all they see ever-more elaborate legal and political manoeuvres from the party opposite which is determined, absolutely determined, to say “we know best” and thumb their noses at the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union.

The Leader of the Opposition and his party do not trust the people.

The Leader of the Opposition and his party are determined to overthrow the referendum result whatever the cost.

They do not care about the bill for hundreds of millions of pounds that will come with every week of delay.

They don’t care if another year or more is wasted arguing about a referendum that happened three years ago.

All that matters to them now is an obsessive desire to overrule the referendum result.

While we want to take our country up a gear, to go forward with a fantastic accelerated programme of investment in infrastructure, in health, in education and technology – they are throwing on the handbrake.

Well, Mr Speaker, we will not betray the people who sent us here. That’s what they want to do.

We will not abandon the priorities that matter to the public.

And we will continue to challenge parliament to uphold democracy.

If honourable and right honourable members opposite so disagreed with this government’s commitment to leaving on 31 October, they had a very simple remedy at their disposal, did they not?

They could have voted for a general election.

I have to confess, Mr Speaker, that I was a little shocked to discover that the party whose members stood up in Brighton this week and repeatedly – and in the most strident terms – demanded an election, I hear them, is the very same party whose members have already this month – not once but twice – refused to allow the people to decide on their next government.

For two years they have demanded an election but twice they have voted against it.

The Leader of the Opposition changes his mind so often — I wonder whether he supports an election today, or have the Shadow Chancellor and the Shadow Attorney General have overruled him again, because they know that the voters will judge their manifesto for what it is. More pointless delay.

Is he going to demand an election then vote against it — just as he says he wants to negotiate a new Brexit deal then vote against that too?

Is he actually going to vote no confidence in this government? Is he going to dodge a vote of no confidence in me as Prime Minister in order to escape the verdict of the voters?

I wonder – does he in his heart even want to be Prime Minister anymore?

He says the Prime Minister should go to Brussels on 17 October and negotiate another pointless delay but he doesn’t want to go himself — and even if he did his own colleagues wouldn’t let him.

Because quite frankly they recoil at the idea of him negotiating on the people’s behalf representing this country, with Vladimir Putin, let alone the EU or the Mullahs of Tehran?

Or is it that you want a Conservative Government?

It would be a curious state of affairs indeed if Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition had every faith in the government of the day.

So if in fact the party opposite does not in fact have confidence in the government, they will have a chance to prove it….I think they should listen to this Mr Speaker.

They have until the House rises today to table a motion of no confidence in the government, and we can have that vote tomorrow.

Or if any of the other parties, the smaller parties fancy a go, they can table that motion, we’ll give you the time for that vote.

Will they have the courage to act or will they refuse to take responsibility and do nothing but dither and delay?

Why wouldn’t they? What are they scared of?

Mr Speaker, thank you, and as I commend this statement to the House I say it is time to get Brexit done. Get Brexit done so we respect the referendum. Get Brexit done so we can move on to deal with the people’s priorities, the NHS, the cost of living. Get Brexit done so we can start to reunite the country after the divisions of the referendum rather than having another one.

It is time for this Parliament finally to take responsibility for its decisions. We decided to call that referendum. We promised time and again to respect it.

I think the people of this country have had enough of it — this Parliament must either stand aside and let this government get Brexit done or bring a vote of confidence and finally face the day of reckoning with the voters.

And I commend this statement to the House.