Review of powers in consequence of EU withdrawal

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Leader of the Liberal Democrats 6:15 pm, 8th January 2019

Thank you for your indulgence, Mr Speaker. I just want to say a few words in support of amendments 7 and 8. They are Brexit-neutral, in the sense that they require the House to approve any change, but of course they relate primarily to no deal. The fiscal issues, as Sir Oliver Letwin explained them, were arcane and rather gentle. I tabled a more brutal amendment that was not called.

In the 30 seconds left, I want to relate an incident from this morning, when I went to the ferry port at Portsmouth. It is very clear that the Government are totally and utterly unprepared for the chaotic impact that there will be on the road system, including access to the naval base, if a no-deal Brexit occurs. Despite repeated requests from the council and others, the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence are refusing to co-operate, and the police now say that the M3 motorway will have to be closed from Winchester to Basingstoke in order to provide a lorry park. Repeated efforts to get Ministers to respond have not been heeded. A meeting was held for 19 regional MPs last week, but only one attended, so I am taking on the job of representing a no-deal Brexit. It is a task I undertake with all the enthusiasm of an arsonist trying to put out a bushfire, but I will do it.