Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Labour, Aberavon 3:38 pm, 27th March 2019

I thank Sir Oliver Letwin for his great work in making today’s proceedings possible. I rise to speak in support of motion (D) in my name and those of Nick Boles and other hon. Members.

This really is five minutes to midnight—for this Parliament, for this Government and for our country—and we desperately need to find a way out of this mess. Our country has spent two years tied up in knots by the Prime Minister’s incompatible red lines, which offered such a narrow interpretation of the referendum result. A 52% to 48% vote was certainly not an instruction for a disastrous no deal or for a hard, Canada-style, job-destroying Brexit. It was an instruction to move house, but to stay in the same neighbourhood.

The European Free Trade Association/European economic area model offers just such a possibility. It respects the referendum result without wrecking the British economy. Not convinced? Well, it is worth remembering what Nigel Farage told a “Question Time” audience in 2016:

“I hear people say ‘Wouldn’t it be terrible if we were like Norway and Switzerland?’
Really? They are rich, they’re happy and they’re self-governing countries.”

Mr Paterson, a passionate Brexiteer, told us in 2015 that

“only a madman would leave the market”,

and Boris Johnson has also been supportive of the single market in the past. The point I am making is that, in 2016, Euroscepticism meant something that it apparently no longer means today.