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UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 1:58 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Conservative, Esher and Walton 1:58 pm, 14th February 2019

The hon. Gentleman raises a perfectly respectable point, but the head of HMRC has said there would not need to be any extra infrastructure at the border under any circumstances, and on the hon. Gentleman’s point about time, while I do not accept his point about the absence of technological solutions, we will have the implementation period to work closely with our partners in Dublin and the EU to make sure they can be put in place.

Of all the question-begging amendments, the one in the name of Jeremy Corbyn is the most devoid of credibility for three reasons. On the one hand the leader of the Labour party wants to be a member of a customs union—the customs union—but at the same time he boasts of his plans to nationalise half the country, which would immediately and directly conflict with those rules. On the one hand he personally is widely regarded, although he does not say so explicitly, as being a proponent of Brexit—he wants to leave the EU, along with many on his side and on his Benches, and of course it is a requirement of the 2017 Labour manifesto—but on the other hand he is willing to trade free movement to allow open access to our borders in order to get a deal, again despite the pledges to exit the single market made in the Labour party manifesto. Finally, while he pledged in his 2017 election manifesto to leave the EU and the single market, he is flirting with a second referendum, yet without any indication of what the question might be or indeed which side he would be on. His Members in this House, the members and supporters in the various Labour party associations and indeed the public at large are entitled to question that and come to the conclusion that it is nothing but a fraud or a con; it is not a serious position.

That was affirmed by the shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer: he talked of the hundreds of businesses he has met that have raised uncertainty as the No. 1 issue. I can imagine that as we have all heard businesses talk about uncertainty, and the public want some finality too, but that is why, if he and his party were genuinely serious, they would rule out extending article 50 and holding a second referendum. But the shadow Brexit Secretary did neither; he said he was sympathetic to the extension of article 50. So he and the Labour party are fuelling precisely the uncertainty they then criticise. I am afraid it is the usual forked-tongue, flip-flopping nonsense from the Labour party, impossible to square with the clear promises it made in its manifesto.