Repeal of the European Communities Act 1972

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 12th June 2018.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 4:00 pm, 12th June 2018

I say to the Secretary of State that if he goes naked to the negotiating table—flaunting it all—it is because he and his supporters have conducted their ideological warfare on the airwaves and in our newspapers, not because of any votes we may have today.

The Liberal Democrats have tabled amendment (a) to Lords amendment 19, which would provide people with a final say on the deal. It would be an opportunity to test the will of the people, and I do not quite understand why the Government—and, indeed, the Brexiteers—are so scared by the concept of testing the will of the people.

We have heard a lot about the will of the people, and I must say that it is now the only reason the Government can deploy for supporting Brexit. If we look at the economic grounds, we know from the impact assessments that it will do us damage. On the diplomatic grounds, our friends despair at what we are doing. On the security grounds, we hear threats and counter-threats about not delivering on the security agenda. On savings, we know there will not be any because, among other things, the Government will have to set up a whole series of parallel institutions doing exactly the same thing as the EU ones. On trade, do we really think we are going to get a huge boost from trade with Trump as a protectionist President?

Our amendment (a) to Lords amendment 19 would provide the people with an opportunity to have their views known on this subject, against a background in which much has changed since the referendum vote two years ago. It would give them a say on the final deal, which they are entitled to and deserve, and I think that would put this issue to bed once and for all.