European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Chair, Treasury Committee 4:03 pm, 12th March 2019

One of the difficulties has been actually modelling any of the scenarios and having anything like proper confidence in the figures. What the impact would be on our economy depends on exactly what arrangements are arrived at, including whether we end up in the EEA or in a customs union. As I say, I do not think we need to be in a customs union because there are alternative ways of solving the issue with the border. That is why I would ask hon. Members on this side of the House to vote for the agreement tonight—to give those arrangements a chance to be negotiated and to take root.

There is no doubt that there is a danger in all of this—I say this as Chair of the Treasury Committee and as a former Treasury Minister—of thinking only about the numbers. The economy is of course incredibly important in securing the livelihoods and successful prospects of our constituents, but there are other issues, and the issue of sovereignty, independence and confidence in our democracy should not be underestimated.

I really fear that if this House does not approve the agreement tonight—Members who say, “Oh, I can’t support it for this reason or that reason”, are being very clever with the words and the way they are interpreting the legal advice—the damage done to trust in our democracy and in the power of an individual’s vote will be immense. As somebody who has been subject to abuse and threats because people feel threatened, I say to those who have not yet experienced it that I suspect it will be unleashed on all of us, and I do not see why we would want to put the country through that.