[5th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 3:21 pm on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 3:21 pm, 9th January 2019

This is my last intervention. To go back to the intervention by my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin, which was pertinent to the situation we are all in, he asked whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman was saying on behalf of the Labour party that, if there was a cross-party agreement on a form of customs union, sufficient regulatory alignment and so on, his party would join in that positively, with a view to reaching a solution and moving on to the serious negotiations. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has turned that question into an attack on the Government, and I agree with him. I share his criticism that the Government should have made serious overtures to the Opposition long, long ago; but as we are now so short of time and we are all in danger of going towards a no-deal exit, which only a small minority in the House positively wants, is it not time for him to answer the question from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset? Is the Labour party available for discussions with a positive view to reaching a conclusion on a customs union and sufficient regulatory alignment to keep open borders?