EU Exit Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 15th October 2018.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 3:40 pm, 15th October 2018

We can see how the Prime Minister’s Back Benchers have responded to her appeal for cool, calm heads. We can understand why she struggles to keep her party together when there are hard questions to be answered.

What was striking was the contrast in reaction from the Tory Back Benchers: when the Prime Minister committed to defend the Good Friday agreement, there was at best a lukewarm response, but there were then three hearty cheers when she said that we were taking Northern Ireland out of the customs union. It tells us where the Tory party’s priorities lie. A Conservative party playing politics with people’s lives for the sake of its own political survival is nothing short of disgraceful.

There is a better way. It is time for the Prime Minister to disown the extreme hard-line minority in her own party. She has the chance to resolve the question of the Irish border to protect jobs, to prevent the economic catastrophe that we face and to respect the result of the referendum in 2016. Will she now accept that she got it wrong? Will she now commit to a damage limitation Brexit and accept that there is a significant consensus in this House in favour of remaining in the single market and the customs union? I say to her to ignore her own career prospects, to ignore the career ambitions of those behind her and to look instead at the hundreds of thousands of people whose jobs are at risk if this goes wrong. Will she take her head out of the sand and work with those on all Benches in this House to ensure that a United Kingdom stays in the single market and in the customs union?