[3rd Allotted Day]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:42 pm on 6th December 2018.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:42 pm, 6th December 2018

Others have said that the knock-on consequences of the uncertainties are catastrophic, and I do not disagree.

Economists from UK in a Changing Europe, working with the Institute for Fiscal Studies, estimated that the public finances could be worse off to the tune of nearly 2% of GDP, which would mean £40 billion if it happened today. There is no way of dressing this up: if the House approves the Government’s deal, every region of the UK—every sector, every household and business—will suffer.

Let me deal with the backstop that was arranged. Remarkably, the Government have published no specific analysis of the consequences and cost of their proposed backstop. We now know from the Attorney General’s advice, which was prised from the Government and they were forced to publish, that there will be new barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, that there will be new barriers to trade between the UK and the EU, and that the backstop could be permanent. I quote directly from the Attorney General’s advice, which says that

“the Protocol would endure indefinitely until a superseding agreement took its place, in whole or in part, as set out therein. Further, the Withdrawal Agreement cannot provide a legal means of compelling the EU to conclude such an agreement.”