European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 2:39 pm, 29th January 2019

I thank my right hon. Friend for those remarks and the spirit in which she made them. Her amendment quite clearly has the effect of ruling out no deal on 29 March. Surely that should be good and important for this House. It will not be any comfort, after 29 March, to say, “I told you so” when the lorries are backing up on the M20, cancer patients cannot get medicines and prices are rising in our shops. Tonight, we have the opportunity to take no deal off the table.

When the Prime Minister invited party leaders for talks, I said to her that she must first remove the threat of no deal. If the House today votes to remove the immediate threat of crashing out without a deal on 29 March, as I fervently hope it does and will, I will be happy to meet the Prime Minister to discuss a sensible solution that works for the whole country—which is what the Labour party wants to achieve.

Many of the amendments tabled, including those in the names of my hon. Friend Rachel Reeves, and of my hon. Friend Jack Dromey and Dame Caroline Spelman, advocate delaying article 50 to give Parliament more time to break the impasse and avoid the dangers of no deal. If the House votes for any of those amendments, the Prime Minister must accept that an extension to article 50 is a responsible measure to allow time for real renegotiation and to find a deal that can win the support of this House. It will mean that no deal is off the table and that the red lines must change.