Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 5:00 pm, 13th March 2017

I am grateful for that intervention. That is my interpretation and it causes me great concern. We need to be clear: reaching no deal is the worst of all possible outcomes for Britain. The president of the CBI has described it as the

“worst case scenario” for which many firms cannot even prepare because

“the cost of change is simply too high to even consider it”.

Just yesterday, the director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, emphasised that no deal should not be “plan B”, but “plan Z”. I could not agree more.

Research published today by Open Britain warns that leaving the EU without a deal would leave Britain facing greater barriers to trade with the EU than any other G20 country. The cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee warned on Sunday that

“a complete breakdown in negotiations represents a very destructive outcome leading to mutually assured damage for the EU and the UK. Both sides would suffer economic losses and harm to their international reputations.”

That is why having a vote not only on a deal if there is one, but on no deal, is so important. It represents a check on the Prime Minister deciding to take the country down the most dangerous path. That is why I urge Members, including those on the Conservative Benches, to vote for the amendment.