Leaving the EU: No Deal

Part of Leaving the Eu: No Deal – in the House of Commons at 6:23 pm on 19th December 2018.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Labour, Aberavon 6:23 pm, 19th December 2018

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. This is a steamroller. The tactics and strategy are based on steamrollering, bullying, blackmail and holding a gun to Parliament’s head. The purpose of this debate is to show that Parliament will not have it. We will not be bullied. We will not be presented with a false choice. We will not be blackmailed in the way the Government are attempting. It is a constitutional and democratic outrage.

Secondly, we have no idea how the EU27 would react to a no-deal exit, but draft legislation recently tabled by the French Government contains this sentence:

“In case of withdrawal of the UK from the EU without agreement, British nationals and their family members currently residing in France would be staying illegally”.

This leaves little room for doubt as to the mindset of member states’ Governments or the profound challenges that would be created for the British Government and for British citizens and businesses.

Thirdly, but not least, it is absolutely clear that there is no parliamentary majority for no deal. It is equally clear that it is impossible that the Government could consider a no-deal exit without the support of Parliament for such a course of action. The conclusion is, therefore, that a no-deal Brexit is simply not on the cards, and a responsible Government would be making that statement clearly today.

As no deal is not going to happen, and given that the Prime Minister’s deal is dead in the water, it is finally becoming clear, I hope, that there is an option that can bring Parliament together and get us through this difficult time. It is an option I have been talking about for two years now—many of my hon. Friends and colleagues from across the House will be sick to death of me banging this drum, but I will continue to do so. An EFTA-EEA-based Brexit combined with a customs union—otherwise known as the Norway-plus option—is the only option that resolves the Irish border issue and protects the jobs and livelihoods of the people we were elected to represent. It is the only option that I believe can command a cross-party parliamentary majority and which has a hope of reuniting our deeply divided country.

It is vital that Parliament hold its nerve. This is not a choice between the Prime Minister’s deal and no deal, because no deal is simply not going to happen; this is a choice between the Prime Minister’s deal and the right deal; it is a choice between caving in to the Prime Minister’s empty threats and scaremongering and standing up for the interests of our constituents; it is a choice between capitulating to a bully and asserting our sovereignty. I am confident that when the time comes Parliament will step up and do what is right for the country.