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Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:02 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 2:02 pm, 4th December 2018

I thank the hon. Gentleman for registering those thanks.

The critical point for Members of Parliament to know is that, if we go beyond 21 January without a deal and start going down the track of no deal, it is open to this House and this Government to revoke article 50 to avoid a catastrophic exit from the European Union. I would argue, and many Opposition Members have argued, that we are entitled to know that information, and it is remiss of the Government to have kept it from us.

To conclude—[Interruption.] I knew that would cause celebration on the Government Benches, so I will speak for a little longer than I had intended. I accept that it is not a simple choice that Members have to make today. Publishing the full legal advice has serious implications—of course I accept that, and I think everyone on these Benches accepts that—but the ramifications of the Government ignoring the express demand of Parliament are of even greater import. That is why I urge Members to vote for the motion today.