Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:11 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire 6:11 pm, 13th March 2019

My right hon. and learned Friend makes his points in favour of the European Union, as he has done consistently throughout his career, but the answer is that the people of the east midlands voted to leave the European Union, and I would have hoped that he respected that.

We have heard nothing about the Government’s preparations for no deal, which have been played down. Some 9,000 civil servants are working on no-deal preparations, and the Treasury has allocated £4.2 billion of taxpayers’ money to prepare for no deal. The preparations are moving forward. Business has been told that we are leaving and to prepare for no deal on 29 March. We have seen on the news that the Government have reserved warehouse space for extra stock. All that cost has been incurred by our country.

If we leave on 29 March—business does not like uncertainty, we know that—we end the uncertainty if we leave with no deal. We have already heard that is not no deal—it is a managed no deal. We have a huge trade deficit with the European Union—£67 billion. We can offer it GATT 24, with tariff-free and quota-free trade the moment we leave, which it would be advised to accept, given that it trades with us so much.

The European Union is on the verge of a recession. Germany has no growth and has only stopped quantitative easing for three months, since November, and it has slipped into recession. The European Union has started printing money again to support the euro. Now is the time, when we still have economic growth—it needs our markets—to push for more concessions. It is not the time to take no deal off the table; it is the time to keep it there as a threat to bring the European Union to heel. When we get to the compression point, it cannot be this Parliament or this country that blinks first. I urge all colleagues to keep no deal on the table. It is our only insurance for getting out of the European Union.