[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

Yes, as my right hon. Friend the leader of the Labour party pointed out the other day, the timing does put us over a barrel. What is the incentive for the EU in this situation where we have given all the cards to the other negotiators?

So we are now faced with a prospect of new trade barriers and the potential for an indefinite backstop, but we have no assessment from the Government of what this will mean for the economy. Astoundingly, according to the Attorney General’s legal advice,

“for regulatory purposes GB is essentially treated as a third country by NI for goods passing from GB into NI.”

Others have had their say on the constitutional implications of the backstop—a rod that the Government have created for their own back. But the Government’s refusal to include prolonged membership of the backstop in last week’s economic analysis leads us to conclude that either the Government do not know what the effect of remaining in it would be, or if they do, they do not want us to know the cost and economic consequences of an indefinite backstop.