EU VAT area and pre-commencement requirements

Part of Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 6:30 pm, 16th July 2018

Malaysia, not China.

I also want to talk about new clauses 7, 8 and 9. New clause 7 simply tries to ensure that the Government are required to do what everyone in the House wants them to do—namely, set out the impact on business of their customs arrangements proposals. They have ducked and dived on impact assessments, and they have been embarrassed when assessments have been leaked. They have done everything they can to prevent that information from getting into the public domain. New clause 7 would ensure that, six months after the Bill gets Royal Assent, the Government have to set out precisely the impact of their proposals on the UK economy. New clause 8 would require them to set out precisely the impact on the Northern Ireland-Ireland border—there are still concerns about that question—and new clause 37 quite deliberately seeks to do away with any prospect of a withdrawal agreement. No one—not the political parties here or in Northern Ireland and certainly not the Irish Government—wants to see a border in the Irish Sea, but the purpose of new clause 37 seems to be to destroy the space in which discussions on the backstop arrangements can take place.

New clause 9 and amendment 10 are simply about taking back control. We have heard a lot about parliamentary sovereignty and ensuring that Parliament has its say. Well, the purpose of new clause 9 and amendment 10 is to ensure that the Government do not railroad measures through this House using statutory instruments or tertiary legislation such as public notices simply because it is convenient for them to do so and to avoid the scrutiny that Parliament is entitled to exercise.

I am well within my time limit, but I conclude by saying that I am pleased that we are at least starting to discuss the real consequences of Brexit for business. I hope that new clauses 1 and 12 will be pressed to a vote later. We need to get into some real debate about what we can do to ensure that the successful manufacturers in this country are able to continue to operate as they wish, and those new clauses would allow that to happen.