Review of powers in consequence of EU withdrawal

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 5:45 pm, 8th January 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I apologise to anybody else who wants to intervene, but I will not take any further interventions and try to conclude my remarks.

Some of those who say they support no deal have said that it is unpatriotic to rule it out. I understand that there are strong emotions, but I hope we could be more respectful of each other than that, because I believe that it is patriotic to stand up for manufacturing, for families who may be on the breadline and face increases in food prices, for our NHS, and for British citizens abroad who could lose their rights.

The other objection that people have raised is that this is unnecessary because the Prime Minister’s deal is the one they want as the way forward. I simply disagree, but I think the reality is not about my view but the view in the House: there is not, at this stage, support for the Prime Minister’s deal, and I do not think there could be. We have to be able to respond to what happens next.

Finally, I have heard some say that they want the imminent threat of no deal to persuade people to back the Prime Minister’s deal, if not now, then later. But brinkmanship in Parliament is not the way to resolve this and get the best deal for the country. This is too serious for us to play a massive Brexit game of chicken. The country cannot afford to wait to see who blinks first.

I hope that Ministers, as may have been rumoured, will accept this amendment and accept the principle behind it. The Government should get agreement on a deal before 29 March, get explicit agreement on no deal before 29 March, or, if that fails, commit to seeking an extension of article 50, so that there is time to sort this out. The amendment does not solve the Brexit challenges that we have ahead and the many intense debates that we will no doubt have about the best way forward, but it gives us an opportunity to rule out the worst way forward and to do so in a way that is calm, measured and sensible. That is why I hope that amendment 7 will have support from across this House.