Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 4:47 pm, 13th March 2019

It is always a privilege to follow the Father of the House, Mr Clarke. I also join Keir Starmer in wishing the Prime Minister a speedy recovery. We entirely understand why she is not here for the debate, and, fair play to her, she came along and did Prime Minister’s questions as well as spending time at the Dispatch Box yesterday. It was good to note that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said so many kind words about her, but then again, the Tories are often kind about those who used to lead them.

What a situation to be in—debating a no-deal exit. Next week, we will be 1,000 days on from the EU referendum. Today, we are 993 days on from it and, as the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe rightly pointed out, 16 days away from exit day. It is a shame that the International Trade Secretary has left the Chamber, because Vote Leave backers told us that this would be the easiest deal in the world and that we had nothing to worry about. Well, like much else from those who backed leave, those promises were not kept. It is good that the DEFRA Secretary is in his place, because he must take a huge degree of responsibility for the mess that we are in today. Not only has he had the 1,000 days since the referendum; he has had his entire political life to plan for this, yet 16 days out, we are planning for the worst kind of exit—the kind that we were told would never happen because this would be the easiest deal in history.