[2nd Allotted Day]

Part of Immigration (Time Limit on Detention) – in the House of Commons at 2:03 pm on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 2:03 pm, 5th December 2018

In many ways, migration and security are at the heart of the debate around Brexit, so I am glad to have the opportunity to contribute to it from the Labour Front Bench. I think, however, that after the events of yesterday evening there can be little doubt that this is indeed a botched Brexit. Ministers should be ashamed that they had to be forced to comply with a motion of this House. We heard a lot, when they were trying to argue that they should not have to comply, about the national interest. But we have read the legal advice. There is nothing in it that compromises the national interest. It may be embarrassing for the Government, but it does not compromise the national interest. As Sir William Cash pointed out, it is not actually the full legal advice. It may be that he wants to return to that matter.

I voted to remain and the Labour party campaigned to remain and reform, but my party has said from the beginning that we respect the referendum result. It is true that there were substantive reasons to vote for Brexit. Above all, there were the long-standing concerns about sovereignty, which were so well articulated over his entire lifetime by my late colleague, the former Member for Chesterfield, Tony Benn. Nobody would deny, however, that concerns about migration were not far from the minds of some, if not all, leave voters.