[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 5:39 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People) 5:39 pm, 15th January 2019

When I first spoke in the meaningful vote debate, I spoke of the shambles of the Government’s handling of Brexit, of my alarm at the historic mess that was of their making, and of my anger at the contempt with which they had treated the House and the people whom we represent. I spoke of my constituents’ outrage at the turmoil that the Government were inflicting on the economy, and of the threat to workers’ rights and environmental standards that this Brexit deal represents. I spoke of the danger that the Government’s approach poses to EU citizens’ rights—rights that must be guaranteed; no ifs and no buts.

Now, five weeks later, what has changed? The Prime Minister said that she was going back to the EU to get “reassurances” to appease her disgruntled Back Benchers, but she has returned with nothing. Nothing has changed, as her saying goes. We are now being asked to accept the same botched deal as we were then. It is a deal that fails to protect jobs, rights or people’s livelihoods. It is a deal that the Government’s own analysis says would reduce GDP by 3.9% and make every region worse off. It is a deal that provides no guarantees on the maintaining of key rights such as those of disabled people, which are protected by the EU charter of fundamental rights. All that has changed since the Prime Minister pulled the vote is that there are now just 73 days left until 29 March.

It is clear that the Prime Minister is trying to run down the clock and hold the country to ransom. She is using the prospect of a catastrophic no deal to threaten the House into accepting her botched deal. That is unacceptable, and I know that the people of Battersea, and people across the country, are disgusted at this attempted blackmail. That is why I will be voting against the Prime Minister’s deal, and I encourage all Members on both sides of the House to do the same.