European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 29th January 2019.

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Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee 5:08 pm, 29th January 2019

I rise to speak to amendment (j), which is in my name and the name of other hon. and right hon. Members, and to express support for the amendments tabled by the Leader of the Opposition, by my right hon. Friends the Members for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) and for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), by Dame Caroline Spelman, and by Mr Grieve.

I am motivated to move amendment (j) because I want so much to rule out leaving without a deal on 29 March. If there is just a month before we are due to leave the European Union and we do not have a deal, extending article 50 is the way to achieve ruling that out. I come to this debate with the evidence we have taken on the Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ringing in my ears. Businesses have many views about where, and with what sort of deal, they want to end up, but what unites them is a determination not to crash out of the European Union without any deal at all, because of the impact that would have on free and frictionless trade, which businesses have grown to rely on through our membership of the European Union over the past decades.

We heard evidence from Honda, which warned our Select Committee that every 15 minutes of delay at the border cost £850,000; from the Food and Drink Federation, which talked about how European businesses could

“hoover up the markets that have previously been well served by UK companies”; from pharmaceutical companies; and most recently from the British Retail Consortium.