Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:58 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 3:58 pm, 27th March 2019

I will just make some progress and then I will. Turning to motion (M), we will support this motion tonight, because at this stage it is now clear that any Brexit deal agreed in this Parliament needs further democratic approval. That is what this motion would do. It would put a lock around any deal that the Prime Minister forces through at the 11th hour or any revised deal that comes about at this very late stage. It would ensure that any Tory Brexit deal is subject to a referendum lock and it is consistent with commitments that the Leader of the Opposition and I have made from this Dispatch Box in recent weeks.

In relation to motion (D)—the common market and the Norway motion—I want to be clear that we have concerns about this proposal, and it has not been our preferred option. We have concerns about the lack of a commitment to a permanent and comprehensive customs union, although I listened carefully to the words that were just exchanged in the House. However, we recognise that this motion would deliver a close economic relationship with the EU and would help to protect jobs, rights and the economy. It is credible and it is deliverable, so we believe that this motion should remain an option and continue in the process. We will therefore be recommending that Labour Members vote for it tonight.

This is an extremely important and welcome debate. It is frankly two years overdue. This is the debate that the Prime Minister should have started two years ago at the beginning of the process, but we are where we are, and Parliament finally has the chance to shape the way out of the Prime Minister’s mess.