This is a seminal debate in the history of this House and for the future of our country. I have been in the House since 1983, and this debate and the decision we will take next week is one of the most important we will ever take as Members of this House.
The deal before us would make our country worse off. Taken together with the withdrawal agreement and the future partnership, it represents a huge and damaging failure for Britain. The Prime Minister says this is a good deal, and is so confident of that that she attempted to refuse to publish the Government’s legal advice—she was forced to publish it by votes in this House today.
However, the economic assessments and other assessments that we will see indicate that this is actually a bad deal. These documents are the product of two years of botched negotiations, in which the Government spent more time arguing with itself than it did in negotiating with the European Union. It is not only on Brexit where they have failed. The economy is weak, investment is poor, wage growth is weak, our public services are in crisis and local councils are collapsing because of this Government’s refusal to fund them properly. More people in this country are living in poverty, including half a million more children, since 2010. The Government should be ashamed of themselves for that. Poverty is rising, homelessness is rising and household debt is rising, too.
It is against that backdrop that the Government have produced this botched deal, which even breaches the Prime Minister’s own red lines. Across the House the deal has achieved something—it has united Conservative remainers, Conservative leavers and Members of every Opposition party in an extraordinary coalition against the deal.