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European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 25th March 2019.

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Photo of Lisa Nandy Lisa Nandy Labour, Wigan 8:30 pm, 25th March 2019

And I can tell the Minister that I was here on Monday when we were debating plans to allow pharmacists to limit access to medication in the event of no deal in just a few weeks’ time. I went to my local pharmacist and had a conversation with him a couple of days later and he had never heard anything about it, so to pretend that this is a responsible course of action is, frankly, a disgrace. The Minister can roll his eyes at me all he likes, but this is an absolute disgrace. The Government have driven this country to the brink and they are not learning. Every Member sitting in this House right now will look at that Minister sitting on that Bench and realise that this is a Government who are not serious about safeguarding the welfare of their citizens.

I will finish with this point, because I know that many Members are desperate to speak. In the next stages, if we get to them—if this shabby Government somehow manage to cobble together a majority for the withdrawal agreement and get us into the next stages—I would just say to hon. Members: look at what we have just witnessed in this House. Do not trust that they are acting with the interests of the whole country in mind. This House has no guaranteed role in those next stages of negotiations. If we do not insist on that right now, we will not get it.

For four months, I have been talking to the Prime Minister and to Government Members about giving Parliament the right to set out the terms of the negotiating mandate in the next stages and to guarantee a vote about the future relationship at the end of that process. They have resisted that. That is why my hon. Friend Gareth Snell and I will be bringing forward an amendment on that when the meaningful vote materialises, because we have to have a reset. If we are going to get to the next stages of those discussions, that discussion has to involve every single part of this House. We cannot allow the Prime Minister, whoever he or she may be by that point, to go off and negotiate away our rights, freedoms and protections that have been hard fought for for 100 years without any say in it.

This has become a tug of war between two groups of people who I know, from speaking to them every day in my constituency, are quite reasonable people who want this resolved. We are breaking our democracy. I commend the right hon. Member for West Dorset for tabling amendment (a) because he is seeking a way to bring the House together, to compromise and to find a way through this impasse. We as a House have to rise to the occasion, because, my God, I have just seen a perfect example from the Government Benches of why they are not capable of doing it.