EU Exit Preparations: Ferry Contracts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:40 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay 2:40 pm, 5th March 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. As I say, I naively thought that his position was to stay in the European Union, because that is what I keep hearing in virtually every debate on Brexit that the Scottish National party contributes to. I recall the SNP Government’s proposals on staying and it makes the point: why on earth would anyone want to be outside the European Union while following all its laws, all its rules and all its customs obligations, and probably ending up still within its common fisheries policy, which, as we know, has had such an impact on the north-east of Scotland? It would continue to do so if we stayed in the European Union. We would be obliged to be part of it, despite the claims by the Scottish National party.

This debate is about having a go at no-deal preparations, while at the same time complaining that the impact of no deal would be too great. There is a real opportunity next week to put an end to all these discussions by voting for a deal. It is an opportunity for some Opposition Members to come off the fence and be clear about their options: the deal that has been negotiated, which is realistic and can be passed, or joining the SNP in voting to stay in the European Union. It is easy to make party political points. It is easy to have a go and criticise decisions that you know you probably would have taken. [Interruption.] Sorry, Mr Speaker—decisions that they know they would have taken; the only decisions you take are on who is called to speak and procedural matters in this House.

That is the nub of this debate. Ultimately, it was a legal risk versus a risk to medicine supply. Many Members sitting in the Chamber know what they would have done in those circumstances. The contracts with DFDS and Brittany Ferries are still in place, providing the majority of this capacity. Next week, people will have to start choosing between the alternatives that are actually on the table, not ones that they pretend might be.