[7th Allotted Day]

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 11:16 am on 11th January 2019.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Wavertree 11:16 am, 11th January 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for articulating clearly that, although the nub of the issue has rested on this point, there are actually many other issues. For many colleagues on both sides of the House, the backstop is not the issue that is consuming them. In The Daily Telegraph this morning, an unnamed Minister said that the Prime Minister is likely to lose by 200 votes next week because the situation will not be resolved by addressing the backstop alone. If the vote is lost next Tuesday, a motion of no confidence in this Government should be brought immediately, and we should see whether there is a majority in Parliament for a general election. With fewer than 80 days to go until we are due to leave the EU—around 40 sitting days—time is pressing.

If the vote falls next week, we will break the gridlock only by giving the country a final say with a people’s vote, but that does not mean a rerun of the 2016 referendum. The world is a different place nearly three years on. Some 1.4 million young people who are eligible to vote today were too young to have their say in 2016, and the most recent analysis shows that 72.5% of my constituents now support remaining in the European Union, with 74% of people wanting a people’s vote. Those percentages are hardly surprising, because Liverpool is proudly a European city. We were the European city of culture in 2008—a year that generated an economic impact of £753 million. In just the past five years, European structural and investment funds have provided Liverpool with nearly £200 million, which has allowed us to invest in hundreds of local enterprises and jobs. People understand the enormous benefits that EU membership has afforded us for decades, and it is regrettable that the Government will not even confirm that funds that the European Union has already committed to Liverpool to the tune of millions of pounds will be guaranteed post Brexit.

Young people, whose lives will be most affected by the decisions taken in this place, should be allowed a say on their future. New facts have come to light. The lies of the leave campaign have been exposed, including, as the House heard earlier from the Home Secretary, the leaflets and Facebook advertising that people were bombarded with telling them that millions of people would come here from Turkey. That was just not true. We have heard strong suggestions of Russian influence in our referendum in line with Russia’s desire to disrupt and weaken the western allies, and it is deplorable that we have not yet seen a full and proper criminal investigation. Rather than the unicorns and rainbows that too many of the public were sold, we now have a much clearer sense of what Brexit actually means for our economy, for jobs, for our public services and for businesses, and public opinion has shifted based on the harsh realities rather than the false, shiny promises on the side of a bus or threats of a Turkish invasion.

Let the people have a say with a people’s vote. Let us be open and honest with the country: there is no better Brexit. There will be no Brexit dividend, just Brexit chaos and misery. There is no better deal than the one we have already. On every analysis, Government receipts will be lower than if we had remained in the European Union. Of course, we could choose to spend money differently, but that is not a dividend. The decision will affect us for decades to come, and it is in the national interest and for the sake of the people of Liverpool, Wavertree, who sent me to this Parliament, that I will vote against the Government’s motion next week.