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 will make a bit of progress and then take interventions later.

Many of us have been given briefings on Privy Council terms on the immediate impact of no deal. I am not allowed to share the details with the House, although I will say that the information that was shared with me should now be made public. It is sobering. The first job of any Government is to protect the interests of their people. This Government are wilfully exposing their citizens to risk, whether on job security, the procurement of medicines or food supply, or on aircraft being able to take off. It saddens me that I point the finger of blame fairly and squarely at this Government and at the Prime Minister.

We must wake up to the impact of Brexit and to the options that are in front of us. Some MPs, working on a cross-party basis, want to break the logjam. The SNP has been working with the Liberals Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, and I commend them for their desire to work on a cross-party basis. Members from the Labour party and, indeed, the Conservative party have also spoken out to support a people’s vote. I know that there are many others in the Labour party and the Conservatives who want a people’s vote. I understand party loyalty, but the issue today is one of loyalty to the electorate and to the individual nations that make up the United Kingdom. Now is the time to stand up and be counted. This is a constitutional crisis, and each and every one of us has an individual responsibility. Parliament will not be forgiven by many of our young people if we allow the greatest example of economic self-harm in modern times to take place.

Turning to the Leader of the Opposition, I do this from a position of sorrow, because I believe him to be a man of great principle, but I must say to him that he has become the midwife for Brexit. The Leader of the Opposition is letting the Government off the hook. He has it within his gift to bring forward a no confidence motion that will test the will of the House but, crucially, it will also allow his party to move on to the issue of a people’s vote. Yesterday’s stunt was an embarrassment. The Scottish National party and others sought to amend his motion, and today I ask him to do what he failed spectacularly to do yesterday and table a motion of no confidence in the Government. Let us move on and have that debate tomorrow.