Responding to various claims being made by ministers and officials about the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, Hilary Benn MP, who helped draft it, and who is a leading supporter of People’s Vote, said:
“The Safeguard Act, sometimes referred to as the Benn Act, has a very simple, clear purpose. It is to safeguard against the risk of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on 31st October. No Deal has no democratic mandate from either Parliament or the public. The Government’s own analysis shows that No Deal would be damaging for businesses and livelihoods and would only be the start of a prolonged period of uncertainty for our economic relationship with our biggest and nearest trading partners.
“Provided that the European Council agrees to it, the short extension set out in the Safeguard Act would also provide the space to find a sensible way to resolve the Brexit crisis without falling off a No Deal cliff-edge. Along with a growing number of MPs across the House, I believe that the best way forward is to go back to the British people and give them the final say with a confirmatory referendum. That is the most democratic way to break the current deadlock so we can move on and start dealing with the many other issues facing our country and communities.
“Divisive language isn’t going to help us to do that. We need to come together to find a sensible and practical way forward, with the consent of the public. A People’s Vote offers that, and I look forward to taking part in the march in London on 19th October which will be calling for one.”