European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:51 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 1:51 pm, 29th January 2019

The right hon. Gentleman refers to alternative arrangements as if it is a phrase that has suddenly come into use. As I will mention later, the deal we negotiated allows for alternative arrangements.

I would like to turn to the amendments. I appreciate the spirit of the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend Dame Caroline Spelman. I, too, want to avoid leaving without a deal. I have heard the concerns and anxieties of businesses and families around the country who worry about what would happen if we left without a deal, and I do not want to put at risk all the hard work that has seen this Government deliver record high employment; the joint lowest unemployment in 45 years and wages growing at their fastest rate in a decade.

That said, my right hon. Friend’s amendment is missing the other half of the equation, for unless we are to end up with no Brexit at all, the only way to avoid no deal is to agree a deal. That is why I want to go back to Brussels with the clearest possible mandate to secure a deal that this House can support. That means sending the clearest possible message not about what the House does not want, but about what we do want.