EU Withdrawal Agreement

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy) 4:51 pm, 18th December 2018

Absolutely. That is an historical fact. We only had to see the dynamics in the Fisheries Bill Committee last night. David Duguid tabled an amendment which he said was only a probing amendment and he then voted against leaving the CFP on 31 December 2020.

All these things are proof that the Prime Minister’s red lines were a con as well, as was the Scottish Secretary’s threat to resign if Northern Ireland was given special status. The Scottish Secretary has refused to even look at the compromises suggested by the Scottish Government. It really is time for the UK Government to acknowledge that for any deal to get through this Parliament, it will have to include the single market and the customs union—something that is more likely to appeal to the EU than further UK demands for concessions.

After two years of our being told that no deal is better than a bad deal, we are now suddenly told, “No deal would be a disaster—but don’t worry about a disaster, because we are planning for it! We are putting arrangements in place.” We have had a Brexit Secretary who did not know how important Dover was, and the Transport Secretary did not visit Dover until October 2018. The Transport Secretary also promised that there would be an aviation deal, and then two years later admitted that discussions had not even begun on the aviation agreement. That is how much of a con this Government’s no-deal preparations are—they are an absolute joke.

It is not a binary choice between a bad deal and no deal. The European Court of Justice ruling means that MPs can revoke article 50. As other hon. Members have said, we need to seriously consider a people’s vote. In Scotland, as new polls show, independence within the EU is preferable to Scotland being dragged out against its will. It is quite clear that we need our own independence referendum to let the people of Scotland decide our future.