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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 puts it very well. This is deeply uncertain, and the truth is that the Government have not really levelled with the country about the trade-offs. At the moment, they are saying that they can have everything, and I fear that pretty soon in the negotiations we will discover that that is not the case.

I want to focus not on the economic questions, which were well worn yesterday, but on an equally important issue that has received less attention in this debate but is absolutely crucial: our place in the world and our foreign policy relationships after Brexit. The foundation of our foreign policy for a generation has rested on the combination of a special relationship with the United States and, crucially, our relationship with the European Union.

Enlargement of the EU following the fall of the Berlin wall—as a nation, we advocated for that enlargement; leadership on climate change under the last Government and, I freely say, under this Government; a commitment to the rule of law and human rights; a belief in the importance of multilateral institutions—all of these have been bound up in our relationship with the European Union, and we should not be under any illusion about the real risk that, following our departure, our influence in the world will be weaker, not stronger.

I negotiated on climate change for the last Labour Government, and our strength, our power, our standing on that issue came from our membership of the European Union because we accounted for 10% of global emissions, not just 1%. The House should therefore recognise that the question of what strategic relationships come after Brexit is fundamental to the issue of real sovereignty and our ability to have an effect on the big issues that will affect us.