[9th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 6:13 pm on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury) 6:13 pm, 15th January 2019

It is a pleasure to follow Kirstene Hair, who made a thoughtful speech, albeit that I cannot agree with the thrust of it.

More than 2,000 of my constituents have contacted me about this deal. Only a handful say that they support it, and I agree with the majority. I cannot support it for four reasons. First, it gives inadequate protection for EU citizens who are our neighbours, friends and workmates. I see the Prime Minister looking at me. She will know that I have had repeated communication with her and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union over many weeks to try to get confirmation about the exact criteria for settled status. We still do not have the clarity that we need. That is now coupled with an arbitrary salary level for those coming to our country from the EU, which will starve our hospitals, universities and many other employers of the staff they desperately need. I cannot support the deal because of that.

Secondly, I cannot support the deal because of its inadequate plans for research co-operation, which is so essential for the two universities in my constituency. Thirdly, I cannot support it because of insufficient certainty on customs. Huge firms and important manufacturers such as BMW in Cowley in my constituency do not only need certainty for two years; they need it for 20 years, and they certainly do not get it from this deal. Finally, there are no legally binding guarantees in this deal to stop a race to the bottom on environmental standards or working rights.

This deal has got to be voted down, and after such a failure of leadership, this Government must go. If they will not, then all options should be on the table, including a third public vote, to find a way forward for our country. Whatever the process, all of us parliamentarians here need to remember that we are the ones who have power, not those vulnerable people affected by the politics of hate out in our country. We have that responsibility, and we must always reject that hate. The onus is on us.