UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 1:40 pm, 14th February 2019

I really must wind up my speech.

We are nowhere near ready to leave on 29 March without a deal, and we are nowhere near ready to get a deal before 29 March. The deal that is on offer does not give certainty; it gives another 18 months of fudge and uncertainty, and during that time we shall need to sort out all the hard bits that we have not even started to talk about. The withdrawal agreement was the easy bit; the future relationship is the difficult bit that we must still look forward to.

I welcome the fact that, two years too late, the Prime Minister and her colleagues have started talking to Opposition parties, although the Secretary of State has still not replied to the request that I sent, just after his appointment, to meet me in my capacity as Brexit spokesperson for the third party in the House. He has written to all the members of the Select Committee asking to meet us, but he has not replied to my specific request.

So the Government have started talking to other people, but they must start listening as well. Their disruptive and unworkable red lines must be taken off the table, because they are getting in the way of any kind of workable deal. We need to ask the European Union for more time so that everyone in this Parliament and the devolved Parliaments and Governments, with their collective skills and talents, can get around the table, without preconditions—and that means no preconditions for the Prime Minister either—to work out a solution and get us out of this mess before it is too late.