European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Leaving the EU – in the House of Commons at 10:21 pm on 14th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative, North East Somerset 10:21 pm, 14th January 2019

I am delighted to hear that. I think there will be a cascade of Members going into the Lobby to vote against this bad deal, because it denies us the opportunities that will make Brexit a success. It takes us further away from the ability to open up our economy to the benefits of free trade and the benefits that would allow the prices of food, clothing and footwear to be reduced, increasing the standard of living, most particularly of the least well-off in society. Instead, we are tied into a protectionist racket that keeps prices high and makes our economy less efficient. The rest of the world is overtaking us and the whole of Europe because it becomes less competitive as it seeks an outmoded, anti-competitive system, thinking that it can simply protect itself.

In this withdrawal agreement, there is no end in sight to the backstop—it could go on for generations. How long did the backstop turn out to be for Norway when it voted not to join, before it got a fully-fledged deal of its own? Over 20 years. “Temporary” in European terms is, for most of us, a generation. Of course, “temporary” in parliamentary terms is even longer, as we remember with the Parliament Act 1911 and the Liberal promise never delivered on to abolish the income tax—typical of the Liberals, you might say, Mr Speaker.

We risk denying ourselves these extraordinary opportunities and, in doing so, taking ourselves away from the electorate, for whom we promised to deliver on Brexit. Ultimately, whatever we think, surely we owe it to our voters to deliver. Otherwise, why should they ever trust us again?