European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:37 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 4:37 pm, 29th January 2019

I say to the right hon. Gentleman, as I have said to the House before, in the end, if we are to make progress, people will have to compromise. It is a very British tradition, which seems to be somewhat lacking in the process at the moment.

The Select Committee took a lot of evidence and we came to a very, very stark conclusion, and I will quote what we said:

“A ‘managed no deal’
cannot constitute the policy of any responsible Government.”

I do not think that that conclusion will come as a surprise to the Prime Minister. She knows it, most of the Cabinet know it, business knows it and the House knows that the damage that would be inflicted, and the sheer practical difficulties of leaving on 29 March, mean that this is an outcome that cannot possibly be contemplated. I know there are those on the Government Benches who say, “Oh, it’s all exaggerated.” What I do not understand is why it is that they, with great respect, appear to know more about the consequences of no deal than do the businesses that import things, that make things and that export things.