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Pope was asked to 'pray for a miracle' to deliver Brexit, MP tells Commons

by Press Association

Sir David Amess explained that a cross-party group of MPs had visited Rome over the weekend to witness the canonisation of Cardinal Newman by Pope Francis.

Speaking during the Queen's Speech debate in the Commons, the MP for Southend West noted the atmosphere was a "little strange" and a "little subdued", adding: "Perhaps it's because colleagues are stressed out for various reasons."

He joked: "This really is a broken Parliament, but I have some good news.

"I and one SNP member who happens to be in the chamber now and some Labour colleagues and some Conservative colleagues were all in Rome yesterday for the beatification of Cardinal Newman - canonisation of Cardinal Newman, the first for 50 years of an Englishman, and the House should know that we asked the Holy Father if he would pray for a miracle so that we can deliver Brexit.

"And when we asked him if the next canonisation would be a British MP, his eyes lifted up to heaven.

"But there are a number of us who are feeling slightly spiritual at a rather sombre occasion which today has been thus far."

His comments prompted the SNP's Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) to intervene, adding: "There was a great degree of cross-party consensus, but praying for a miracle to deliver Brexit was absolutely not part of the SNP's contribution."

Sir David replied: "I hope that a miracle happens and Brexit is fixed and we do leave the EU on October 31."

Saint John Henry Newman was hailed as a priest, a poet and a thinker who had a "profound" impact on the world, as he was canonised by Pope Francis on Sunday.

In front of tens of thousands of pilgrims at the Vatican's St Peter's Square, the pontiff elevated the English theologian to sainthood.

The Prince of Wales, who represented the UK at the ceremony, praised the legacy of the cardinal.

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