UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Jack Dromey Jack Dromey Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Pensions) 3:40 pm, 14th February 2019

Come to Erdington, where we still have one in 10 out of work, with unemployment rising. When we turned around the Jaguar plant from closure in 2010, it doubled in size from 1,400 workers to 3,300, but it has lost 1,000 jobs in the last 12 months, and growing uncertainty is seeing more and more job losses. These are good, secure, well-paid jobs, now being put at risk by Brexit. It is nothing short of extraordinary that there continue to be too many Members in this House who are just oblivious to the consequences of their actions.

The week commencing 25 March will be crunch time for the Government, our country and businesses up and down the country. Notwithstanding some of the things said by Conservative Members, that “no to no deal” amendment that won on 29 January, on which parties from across this House united, stands; it is morally binding. It would be utterly contemptuous of the Government if they were to give two fingers to that clearly expressed wish of the House of Commons.

The extraordinary contributions we have heard today tell us that a safeguard is necessary at the next stages. We will engage positively, both formally and informally, with the negotiations under way, with a view to reaching agreement, because we believe we have a duty to put the British national interest first, but what we have heard today reinforces our view that we have to support that Cooper-Letwin amendment. It is an utterly essential measure that the right hon. Member for Meriden and I have signed and strongly support. It underpins things; it is a safeguard that prevents us from falling off a cliff on 29 March without a deal.

We have a sacred duty in this House to put the national interest first. When I get out of bed every morning, what drives me forward is those I represent, and the lives transformed because of successful companies, and I grieve at the thought of what is unfolding. We must come together across this House in the best interests and traditions of Britain to agree a deal that will protect it at the next stages. It would be utterly outrageous if we were to betray the trust of the British people, and we for one just will not do it.