European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:00 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 3:00 pm, 12th March 2019

Oh dear, this will be so disappointing to the people of Shropshire, it really will; I can’t believe he just said that.

What we put forward in the referendum campaign was a principle of remain in the European Union and reform. The result did not go that way; it went the other way. We have spoken up for the people of this country, who are frightened of job losses and frightened of the future for their industries and their communities. That is why we put forward what I believe to be a credible, sensible series of alternatives.

For the very reasons we set out in our letter to the Prime Minister of 6 February we believe there should be a permanent and comprehensive UK-EU customs union, close alignment with the single market, and, as I explained to my right hon. Friend Caroline Flint, dynamic alignment on rights and protections, as well as clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes and, finally, unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements. That is because we want a Brexit that protects jobs, the economy and our industries, and those industries are suffering—no doubt about it. Growth is slowing, manufacturing is now mired in recession, investment is drying up, jobs are going, and thousands of workers fear for their future. The stress facing workers—EU nationals in the UK and indeed British nationals in Europe—is real; I met a group in Spain a couple of weeks ago who told me of their concerns, and they were pleased that we supported what is known as the Costa amendment.

We are deciding the future of our country. Each Member has to answer whether they believe this deal is good for their constituents. If this deal narrowly scrapes through tonight—I don’t think it will—we believe the option should be to go back to the people for a confirmatory vote on it. But we do not believe it should go through.

While there have been no calculations of the economic impact of the actual deal in front of us—something that should shame this Government—there is an estimate of the Chequers deal, which included a promise of “frictionless trade”, which the Prime Minister failed to deliver. But still, even with that more favourable outcome, the Government estimate that their own deal would make our economy and the people of this country worse off.

The documents in front of us offer no clarity.