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Mr Speaker, with permission, I shall make a statement on the mission of this new conservative government. The withdrawal agreement negotiated by my predecessor has been three times rejected by this House. Its terms are unacceptable to this Parliament and to this country.
No country that values its independence and, indeed, its self-respect could agree to a treaty which signed away our economic independence and self-government as this backstop does. A time limit is not enough. If an agreement is to be reached, it must be clearly understood that the way to the deal goes by way of the abolition of the backstop.
Mr Speaker, today is the first day of a new approach, which will end with our exit from the EU on the 31st of October. Then I hope we can have a friendly and constructive relationship as constitutional equals, as friends and partners, in facing the challenges that lie ahead. I believe that is possible, and this government will work to make it so. I commend, I commend this future to the House just as much as I commend this statement, Mr Speaker.