Customs duties

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 20th December 2017.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green 7:30 pm, 20th December 2017

Excellent. It is always good to take a sedentary intervention from my hon. Friend.

I said I would be brief, so I will bring my remarks to a conclusion. I support the amendments and I congratulate those who drafted them. I want the Government to get through this as best they can. They should listen carefully where there are changes to be made but, if we have to return to this matter on Report, they will certainly have my support in making whatever changes are necessary to accommodate concerns so that we get a Bill that is reasonable, feasible and puts the power back into the House.

I would make one small point, however, to those who opened up this massive debate about what happened during the referendum and the idea that we can guess what was in people’s minds. It was said again and again, as I recall, by the then Prime Minister, by the then Chancellor, by Lord Mandelson and also by many in the vote leave campaign, that voting to leave meant leaving the customs union and the single market. Now, I understand and accept that people might not want to do that—they advance all sorts of reasons for not doing it—but it was said again and again. On the idea that the British people were too stupid to understand what they were voting for, I say that they were right in their decision and made a decision that was a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for.