This emergency debate follows the House's decision last week to ask the Prime Minister to seek an extension to the Article 50 period.
Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty sets out how a member state leaves the European Union, with a two year period between the member state "triggering" the Article and the day that the state leaves the Union.
The UK Government triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017 so is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. If the Article 50 period is extended, the UK would remain a member of the European Union during this period.
The motion for the debate;
"That this House has considered the matter of the length and purpose of the extension of the Article 50 process requested by the Government."
Sir Kier Starmer opened the debate criticising the Prime Minister for continuing to pursue her deal, and for not providing clarity to the House on the length or purpose of the extension to Article 50 requested. He said;
"What we must not allow to happen is just another three months to use up on the same approach"
Stephen Barclay, The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, responded to the Shadow Secretary and said:
"It's now not possible to ratify the deal before the 29th March. The request to the President of the European Council delivered today by my Right Honourable friend the Prime Minister, gives us a final chance to uphold the democratic responsibility to deliver Brexit in an orderly way."
The Secretary of State said that not honouring the result of the referendum would be damaging to the reputation of the UK's democracy.
Application for debate
The House of Commons agreed to an application for an emergency debate, made by the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Sir Keir Starmer, on Wednesday 20 March 2019.
An emergency debate is a debate called at short notice in the House of Commons on a matter that should have urgent consideration. An MP may apply to the Speaker for an emergency debate under the rules of Standing Order No. 24.
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