1st Allotted Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 7:32 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Conservative, Uxbridge and South Ruislip 7:32 pm, 4th December 2018

In which case, I am happy to acknowledge my right hon. Friend’s sincerity. However, I have to say that the Government’s heart does not appear to be in this deal. From listening to those who are sent out to defend and explain it, they know that it is a democratic disaster.

As has been said, after two years of negotiation, the deal has achieved an extraordinary thing: it has finally brought us together. Remainers and leavers, myself and Tony Blair, we are united—indeed, the whole Johnson family is united—in the belief that the deal is a national humiliation that makes a mockery of Brexit. I am sorry to say this—these are hard truths—but there will be no proper free trade deals and we will not take back control of our laws. For the Government to continue to suggest otherwise is to do violence to the natural meaning of words. We will give up £39 billion for nothing. We will not be taking back control of our borders. Not only have we yet to settle the terms on which EU migrants will in future come to this country, but we will be levying EU tariffs at UK ports and sending 80% of the cash to Brussels. In short, we are going to be rule-takers. We are going to be a de facto colony. Out of sheer funk—I am sorry to have to say this to the House—we are ensuring that we will never, ever be able to take advantage of the freedoms we should have won by Brexit.

Under the terms of the backstop, we have to stay in the customs union, while Northern Ireland, and therefore the rest of the UK if we want to keep the Union together, will stay in regulatory alignment unless and until the EU decides to let us go. And why should they let us go? By handing over £39 billion, we lose all our leverage in the talks. With the £95 billion surplus they have with us in goods alone, the EU has absolutely no interest or incentive to allow us—