EU Withdrawal Agreement

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 2:09 pm, 18th December 2018

I am going to make some progress.

Our constituents will not thank us for putting the UK in such a situation that we have one week from voting down the Prime Minister’s deal to save the UK from a no-deal scenario. That is why we need this debate today. More importantly, however, we need a meaningful vote this week, not in the middle of January. The Prime Minister is playing a dangerous game of trying to lock us out of any alternative and make it a binary choice between her deal or no deal. It is the height of irresponsibility, treating this place and the electorate with contempt.

We must be honest with ourselves and, more importantly, with the public. There is no such thing as a good Brexit. The Government’s analysis shows that we will be better off staying in the European Union compared with any of the Brexit options. Put simply, we are risking growth, job opportunities and prosperity, but why? We are told by the Prime Minister that it is because we must respect the referendum result. Well, when the facts change, our opinions can also change. We must be straight with those who voted leave or remain that we now know that there is a price to be paid for Brexit, such as job losses. Putting people on the dole is not a price worth paying. No Government worthy of that name are fit for purpose if they countenance such a scenario. It is an abrogation of responsibility.

We know that billions are being spent on no-deal planning. That money could have been spent on the NHS, on education, on transport and so on, but it is having to be spent on no-deal planning. What a waste it is that the Government think that that is appropriate. Money that should be spent on the frontline is being spent elsewhere because of the dogma of right-wing Brexit.