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Uk’S Withdrawal from the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 27th February 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 4:16 pm, 27th February 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Here we are for yet another debate and yet more votes as the clock ticks towards leaving the European Union on 29 March, and towards a no-deal Brexit and a cliff edge that everyone knows will be disastrous and damaging. From day one, this has been a lesson in gross irresponsibility, particularly from the Government.

Our amendment (k) is simple and straightforward: it would take no deal off the table altogether. The Prime Minister was uncharacteristically clear in her statement yesterday when she said we will have a vote on 13 March to take no deal off the table for the end of March. Our amendment simply goes one step further.

We know from public statements and from what we hear—Ministers will be well aware of this—that even members of the Cabinet and officials are warning of the devastation that no deal would bring. Everybody knows. This is not a negotiating tactic; it is simply a tactic to hold a fracturing Conservative party together. We have a Government in peacetime who we know are preparing for medicine shortages and food shortages, and who we know have discussed martial law and civil unrest. That is deeply disconcerting to everyone, and it underlines why no deal must be taken off the table.

Our amendment is not just something that the Scottish National party is calling for, and I am grateful to colleagues from the Green party, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats for backing it. I know that colleagues from the Labour party and the Conservative party are calling for it, too, including Dame Caroline Spelman in the previous speech. We must take no deal off the table altogether, which is why this is such a simple amendment.