European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 4:37 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood 4:37 pm, 12th March 2019

I shall keep my speech short to allow other Members to speak.

Here we go again. It is groundhog day. We are faced with the same bad deal for our country’s future. In February, we provided the Prime Minister with guidance on what was needed to gain the support of the House. The Malthouse compromise was just that—a compromise to find the middle ground and secure a deal. I respect the Prime Minister’s attempts to improve the deal, but it has been a failure, and since the EU is refusing to improve it, we need to just leave. We need to leave the European Union on 29 March and deliver on the referendum promise.

After weeks of negotiations, all that we have is an agreement that has not changed the working of the backstop, but simply supplements it. These changes only limit the risks posed by the backstop; they do not remove those risks entirely. As a sovereign country, we need the ability to leave the backstop unilaterally. We should not have to ask the EU for permission to forge our own future. The agreement is not about taking back control of our own destiny; it is about surrendering control. As the Attorney General has said,

“the legal risk remains unchanged”,

and if the legal risk remains unchanged, the bad deal remains unchanged.

So what next? Where do we go from here? It may seem strange to some, but I propose that we keep our promises and leave the European Union without a bad deal. According to Hansard, the Prime Minister has said more than 120 times that the UK should leave the EU on 29 March. When today’s vote is defeated, the best option left for the UK is to go to WTO rules, just as the Prime Minister has indicated previously.

This deal remains a bad deal for the reasons that I have mentioned, but let us not forget the other issues. If this deal were to pass in its current form, we would still be subject to decisions from the ECJ—decisions that would directly impact on our laws and subsequently our sovereignty. Additionally, we must still pay the European Union the £39 billion just for the right to leave; no, that is not good enough. The Prime Minister has been right all along that no deal is better than a bad deal, and if this place considers her deal to be a bad deal today then we need to leave without a deal.

We need to invest the £39 billion in our own country.