Iain Duncan Smith confirms he will back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and urges Sir Oliver Letwin to withdraw his amendment so that the British people can get the decision on Brexit they are calling for.
May I take issue—gently—with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister? For 27 years, some of us have been warning about the federal nature of the European Union. [Interruption.] I did say gently.
I am in real agreement, as I stand here today, with my right hon. Friend the Father of the House, who has said that he will back this deal today. So will I. In that spirit, will my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister please come to the Dispatch Box and ask my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), in recognising that we need to have a meaningful vote, to withdraw his amendment and give the British people what they are dying for, which is a decision on Brexit?
I am full of respect for the contributions that my right hon. Friend has made on this subject over many, many years. I did not mean in any way to exclude him or to say that he had not made important contributions on the subject of a federal Europe. What I said was that I had not often heard people speaking up in favour of the integration of this country into a federal EU.
On my right hon. Friend’s point about the amendment that I believe is being proposed, and that I think you, Mr Speaker, have accepted from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), I do think that this is a momentous occasion for our country and for our Parliament, and that it would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote, which is what I believe this House has been convoked to do, were to be taken away from us. I say that with the greatest respect to my right hon. Friend, who I think is actuated by the best possible intentions.