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[2nd Allotted Day]

Part of Immigration (Time Limit on Detention) – in the House of Commons at 3:48 pm on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:48 pm, 5th December 2018

In this crisis, there are many temptations to find someone other than ourselves to blame, to say “I told you so”, to exploit the situation for personal ambition, or to cry betrayal. We need to resist those temptations. Indeed, we need to act in the national interest. We are on a short 100-day journey to no deal, but there are turnings that we could take off this dangerous road, which would otherwise lead us to doing a Thelma and Louise on 29 March.

I admire the Prime Minister for many things. She and I coped well together as we toured the working men’s clubs of North West Durham in 1992, on our way to being crushed by Baroness Hilary Armstrong. Then, as now, I was impressed by the Prime Minister’s fortitude in the face of certain defeat. The one thing that I do not really admire her for is her attempt to hoodwink the British people into thinking that the only choice that we have in this vote is between a bad deal and no deal. She knows that that is not true, and to keep repeating it is beneath her.

We have six options. None of them is great, but some are better than others. First, we can accept the PM’s deal, which kicks the can down the road and keeps us thinking and talking about Brexit for many years to come.