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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

I will not get extra time, so I am not going to indulge in that argument because we are leaving the European Union—the hon. Gentleman and I agree on that. The question is: what comes next? We all need to address ourselves to that question.

Of course the terrible irony is that, with the election of President Trump, our European co-operation is so clearly needed more than ever. I believe in the special relationship with the United States, but it must be based on values. The Foreign Secretary said after President Trump’s election, and I slightly scratched my head at this, that

“he is a guy who believes firmly in values that I believe in too—freedom and democracy.”

I do not agree and I hope that on reflection, after a few days of the Trump presidency, the Foreign Secretary does not agree, either.

My central point is this: I can go along with the Prime Minister that Brexit means Brexit, but I cannot go along with the idea that Brexit means Trump. I do not believe that that is inevitable, nor do l believe that it is what the British people want. The danger is that the Prime Minister feels it is an inevitable consequence of the decision to leave the EU that we are driven into the arms of President Trump.

So what should be done? This is the fundamental point. The Lancaster House speech was no doubt an improvement in tone on what had gone before, but not one of the Prime Minister’s 12 principles concerned foreign policy, defence or climate co-operation. To put that right in the course of the negotiations I sincerely hope that the Government come up with an architecture for foreign and strategic policy co-operation with the European Union, not just ad hoc arrangements. I want to be clear—this relates to the question asked by Sir Gerald Howarth—that that co-operation would be intergovernmental, but there are many issues, from Russia to refugees, climate and defence, where we will be stronger, not weaker, if we have institutions that continue to mean co-operation between ourselves and the European Union.

We not only need the right institutions, but institutions founded on a strategic orientation that continues to value our role in Europe. We must be willing, even as we leave the EU, to join our European allies, whose values we share, in speaking up for the rule of law and human rights. I ask this of all European countries: where has been the co-ordinated response to the Trump Muslim ban? Why have the Government not been pushing for that response?