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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:55 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Labour, Doncaster North 12:55 pm, 1st February 2017

My hon. Friend makes his point very well, and I shall come on to that in a moment.

Our responsibilities do not end here tonight or with the passing of this Bill. It is deeply problematic that the Government are embarking upon this process without any objective economic analysis of its implications, without clarity on key issues such as the customs union and without any sense of what transitional arrangements might look like, on the basis of what I believe is the fanciful proposition that all the future arrangements can be tied up within 18 months.

On day one of the debate, a number of speakers powerfully made the point that, given the paucity of information we have been given before article 50 is to be triggered, it is even more important that there should be proper parliamentary scrutiny, including a meaningful vote in this House, before the end of the process. The Prime Minister’s apparent wish that our choice will be to accept her deal or face a hard Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms is quite wrong. Such a take-it-or-leave-it option would fly in the face of the central proposition that won the referendum—namely, that we want to take back control and restore parliamentary sovereignty. So I hope that Members—particularly Conservative Members—however they voted in the referendum, will support the amendments that seek to ensure proper parliamentary sovereignty throughout the process. I believe that parliamentary scrutiny will help the Government. It will improve any deal, it will strengthen their hand with the European Union and it will make it more likely that the Prime Minister will end up with a deal that has the support it needs in the country.