Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

[2nd Allotted Day]

Part of Immigration (Time Limit on Detention) – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 5th December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon Conservative, Sevenoaks 3:41 pm, 5th December 2018

We would not be having this debate today if Parliament had not asserted, earlier this year, its right to express its views clearly on the deal that has been brought back to us. It does not, however, follow from that that Parliament should have to take on the responsibility of designing or redesigning the deal. I do not believe Parliament should overreach itself in that respect. What Parliament can do is set the boundaries for a deal and express its view on the deal, and I hope we will be able to do that on Tuesday.

Equally, because of the amendment that I supported yesterday, tabled by my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Grieve, it should be very clear what is not acceptable. In my view, no deal is not acceptable. It is my judgment that no deal would be highly irresponsible. Having no agreement on trade and security would be damaging to our business interests, and we must have a deal properly in place before we leave. So I do not support no deal. I also have to say to some of my hon. Friends that I am not convinced by the arguments for having another referendum. Of course referendums are divisive, but that is not the problem. The problem is that I do not see how a referendum could be decisive and could secure a sufficient consensus to put this issue to bed for a decent period of time.

If we are to respect the referendum that we did have, and if, as my neighbour, my hon. Friend Mr Gyimah, said in an excellent and powerful speech, we are to surrender our vote, our voice and our veto straightaway and immediately pay over this huge sum of £39 billion, we need a deal that is worth all the risks of not knowing how it is going to work out. We do not have that at the moment. Instead, we are confronted with a completely vacuous political declaration. In my view, we need something much better and much firmer if we are to take that decisive step at the end of March.