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 Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 7:30 pm, 20th December 2017

Thank you, Sir David. Your timing is perfect.

It is a pleasure to follow Mr Duncan Smith. It enables me to remind him of the promises that were made during the referendum about the £350 million a week that would be available to the NHS post-Brexit. I am as imbued with the good spirit of Christmas as others, Sir David, and I will therefore seek to limit my comments to the five minutes that you have specified.

A number of Members referred to what the Prime Minister said to the Liaison Committee in connection with amendment 7. I understand that she was asked no fewer than five times to confirm that she would provide a meaningful vote, by which I mean a vote that would take place on a Bill that will be amendable and would allow the debate to take place at a time when the Government could be instructed to go back and negotiate some more.

Let me briefly comment on new clauses 13 and 54. New clause 13 would ensure that we stayed in the customs union. That, I think, remains the only solution to the Ireland-Northern Ireland border issue apart from a border in the Irish Sea, which I do not think the Democratic Unionist party would support.