Letwin: Article 50 is and must be irrevocable

Sir Oliver Letwin explains why Article 50 must be irrevocable, and why he is backing the Brexit bill despite having voted to remain. 

An extract from the speech:

“The truth is that the negotiating hand that our government has will greatly determine whether in the end we do get a comprehensive trade deal of the kind that the Prime Minister rightly seeks.

And I know of no fact more certain than that if this House were to suggest to our counter-parties in the EU 27 that we might decide at a later date that if the deal offered to us was bad enough then we would prefer to remain, then the consequence would be that they would offer us the worst deal that they could think of. Because… many of our EU 27 counterpart do want to keep in us in.

Therefore I think we have a very solemn duty in this House to make it abundantly clear… that this an irrevocable act tomorrow night, that we’re taking a step which we cannot go back from, that therefore if they want a proper deal that’s in the mutual interest they should offer it, and that if we don’t get it we will leave because we have triggered Article 50 and we’re out. And then we will have to deal with the consequences of that thereafter.

And that makes tomorrow night’s vote, I think, one of the most important that we will ever take in this House. And I take it with some doubt and hesitation. But I take it because I believe that the will of the people in the end has been expressed.