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 thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. He and Antoinette Sandbach are fantastic members of my Select Committee—as are all the members. The deal has been rejected; all my amendment says is that, if we get to 26 February and we still have agreed not agreed a deal just 31 days before we are due to leave the European Union, we need at that point to have in place a mechanism to give us more time. That is simply what my amendment would do. It does not propose that we extend article 50 today and it does not come to a conclusion about the final deal, but it does say that we need time to get this right, to secure a deal so that we do not crash out without a deal. For business and, as other Members have said, for policing and security, we must avoid the chaos that we all know will occur if we crash out without a deal. I believe that the Prime Minister knows that too. The amendment would give her and the Government the space to get the right deal.

The most obvious way to ensure that we do not leave without a deal is to take no deal on 29 March off the table. The way to do that is to put in its place this mechanism to extend article 50 if we get to 26 February without having secured a deal. It will give us the time we desperately need to get this right. It is exactly the opposite of the dangerous tactic of running down the clock and putting pressure on Members to agree a deal that many of us think and believe very strongly is a bad deal for our country.