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[3rd Allotted Day]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:52 pm on 6th December 2018.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire 5:52 pm, 6th December 2018

Mr Speaker, if you had said to me that, a year and a half after I was first elected, I would be standing in this place in order to rebel against my Government I would have been extremely surprised. It is testament to the problem that we have in front of us today and the gravity of the issues with which we are dealing that that is exactly what I intend to do on Tuesday.

We have a decision to make. There is too much calculation in this place—too much overthinking. We are obsessing about single commas when entire paragraphs do not work. This deal does not work from a trade perspective; it does not work from a law perspective; it does not work from a backstop perspective; and it does not work from a money perspective, and I cannot support it.

Like so many of my colleagues in this place today, I have nothing but admiration for what the Prime Minister has done over the past two and a half years in order to try to get us to this place today, but hard work is not an end point in itself, resilience is not an output, and stamina is not a strategy. We must understand the proposition that is in front of us, and that proposition, in its current form, is very wanting.

One of my very close friends in this place, who is not here right at this moment, said to me a few days ago, “I did not come to this place to make my constituents poorer.” Neither did I, so we can both agree on that prospectus. But when we move all the facile, nonsensical debate about estimates out of the way, some of which has been touched on in a largely good-natured debate today, we are actually talking about what is good for our country in the long term—the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years.

I do not want to make my country poorer, but I know what will make it poorer: the inability to sign meaningful trade deals. It is the inability to be flexible and take advantage of the global growth outside the European Union. I know another way that my country will be poorer if this deal goes through. It will be poorer from a democratic perspective. I represent a constituency that voted 63% to leave, and I cannot go back to my constituents in Clay Cross, Killamarsh, Eckington and all the other villages that voted overwhelmingly to leave, and say that this deal delivers Brexit. It does not.

I disagree with this deal. I disagree with it because of where we have come from, because it is a failure of negotiation. I disagree with it because of where we are, because it is a failure of nerve. I disagree with it because of where we are going; it is a failure of ambition. Stop this deal. Stop this discussion. Have confidence in our country, move us out from the shadow we are under and understand that we have a much brighter future if we want to grasp it.