Future Relationship Between the UK and the EU

Part of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 18th July 2018.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe 5:06 pm, 18th July 2018

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but I am afraid that I will just refer him to the answer to the relevant urgent question, which I will stand by for a very long time.

The second point—I have received some private communications reinforcing my view—is that, unfortunately, the establishment believes that any deal will be voted through by this House and is working on that basis. I have to say it is with some horror that I face the possibility that that consideration is being borne in mind by negotiators, because I do not believe for a moment that it is true. I believe that Scottish National party Members will always vote in a way that reinforces their hopes of secession from the UK, which is bound to mean voting against any agreement. I believe that the Labour party, for all the good faith of the shadow Secretary of State, will in the end vote against any agreement—any agreement. That therefore means that people—whether or not they like it, and however impartial they may be—must bring forward a deal that can be voted through by the Conservative party.

The number 40 has been bandied around in this House in the past few days. I am sorry to say it—it gives me no pleasure to say it, but I must do so—“and the rest”. People who have said 40 are not out by a fraction: when they come to consider the number of Members on the Conservative Benches who do not like this deal and are willing to vote in line with that dislike, they are out by a factor, not by a fraction. That means people must face up to the difficult truth that a high alignment—a Brexit that requires a high degree of permanent alignment to the European Union—will not go through this House of Commons; it will fail. Those are the two difficulties that officials—officials—must face up to.