Future Relationship Between the UK and the EU

Part of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:39 pm on 18th July 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:39 pm, 18th July 2018

I will make some progress and then I will give way again.

The flaws in this White Paper and the mess the Government find themselves in do not just stem from the history of Conservative party splits over Europe—there are mistakes of this Government, too. After the referendum, we needed decisive leadership to bring a divided country together—to honour the result, but also to speak for those who voted remain. We needed a vision where everybody could see their future, and we needed to ensure that the social and economic causes of the referendum were addressed. Instead the Prime Minister set out, in October 2016, impossible and extreme red lines: no customs union; no single market; having nothing to do with a European Court; having no common EU agencies. She also had no plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. In addition, she pushed away Parliament. There was a moment when she could have sought its backing, but she pushed it away and avoided scrutiny. None of the speeches she has ever made on Brexit—the “House speeches”—have been put to a vote in this Parliament to see whether they would be approved. She has rejected sensible amendments and proposals from across the House to make Brexit work. What is the result? It has taken two years to produce this White Paper and it has lasted less than a week.