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UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 4:23 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee, Chair, International Trade Committee 4:23 pm, 14th February 2019

Well, 43 days to go and here we are—still pretty clueless in the House of Commons. When people ask what is going to happen, nobody really knows. I did hope to bring this to an end with my amendment (d). I am grateful to Mr Clarke, Janet Daby, and my hon. Friends the Members for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), for Glasgow North West (Carol Monaghan) and for Glasgow South (Stewart Malcolm McDonald) for supporting it. I think it is going to gain some currency over time. In the end, we are going to come down between taking the crazy Brexit route only wanted by the militant tendency of the Tory party or else revoking article 50.

Brexit is bad. Even Brexiteers do not want Brexit on 29 March. There are no Brexiteers: it is only the utterly deluded who want Brexit on 29 March. The International Trade Secretary says that it is damaging to the economy. We have heard other Brexiteers describe Brexit on 29 March as “a catastrophe” and as “a disaster”—not something they wrote on the side of a bus when they were going round calling for Brexit. They were making all sorts of promises about Brexit. If people were convinced to vote for Christmas every week, or free chocolate on Thursdays, or slices of cheese from the moon on Fridays, we would have to tell them, “This is as undeliverable as the ERG militant tendency Tory Brexit.” It is impossible without damaging the economy, and those on the Government Front Bench should be straight about that. That is what is about to happen.

The Netherlands is preparing for damage to its small businesses, and Ireland is giving its small businesses advice about Brexit, but that is not happening in the UK. What are the Government doing to bridge the gap for small businesses in the UK when the damage of Brexit comes? If any Conservatives can sit there comfortably—[Interruption.] If Stephen Kerr wants to intervene and tell us that no businesses will go to the wall because of Brexit on 29 March, I will give him the floor. Does he want to take that opportunity?