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Uk’S Withdrawal from the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:01 pm on 27th February 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 5:01 pm, 27th February 2019

That is hugely important. I will finish these quick points and then come on to that. I would like confirmation, too—like my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central—that the motions will be amendable. There is also the key issue about what happens if there is a disagreement. Let us suppose that there is a disagreement between the EU and the UK, perhaps with one side suggesting three months and one suggesting two months. In those circumstances, we need the reassurance that the Government will not shrug their shoulders and say, “Okay, we didn’t get an agreement. We are now just going to pursue no deal after all,” and that instead they will come back to this House and allow for some process of resolution, if there is a disagreement.

I really urge Ministers to say how the Government would vote. We will keep our Bill in reserve. We hope that, with these assurances, we do not need to press amendment (c). I hope to press amendment (f) and that we can have confirmation and clarity of what the Prime Minister said as part of the motion, but it is also important for the Government to provide clarity about how they would vote. Businesses still do not know exactly whether there is going to be a majority or not. We can give them some assurances about how people have voted in the past, but the thing they really want to hear is what Government would do in those circumstances. Will Government, faced with that choice, really want to say, “We actually want to cause huge problems for medicine supplies for the NHS, huge problems for the short-life radioisotopes that are used for cancer treatment, huge problems for our manufacturing industry and to turn motorways into car parks”? Will the Government really, honestly, want to do that, rather than just saying, “D’you know what? We might need a bit more time.”