Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:28 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Labour/Co-operative, Manchester Central 6:28 pm, 27th March 2019

As others have said, this debate should have happened a long time ago. Unfortunately, in the meantime, positions have become more entrenched and the country has become more divided. I hope that today, the healing process can begin. I want to say at the outset that each one of us has thought deeply for a long time. These are difficult issues, and we have all made balanced judgments from a place of good intent. We should respect where others have arrived at, even though some of us have arrived at different places.

We also have to remember that nothing about this debate is perfect. There is no easy solution, and there is no panacea. Every single thing before us has upsides and downsides, and I am not going to pretend any differently about what I want to support this evening. We need some honesty in the debate, and we need some balance too. The only thing that is absolute is that compromise is absolutely necessary, and we must have that in everything we do. My other criteria for looking at the things before us today is what is actually doable and achievable because, for too long in this debate, we have been chasing unicorns around that unicorn forest.

Although I have arrived at the view that, on the balance of upsides and downsides, common market 2.0 for me offers a balance I can live with, I will be voting for other things this evening. I think today is about keeping as many options as possible on the table—in the forest, or whatever metaphor hon. Members wants—not narrowing them down. In brief, the upsides of common market 2.0 for me are that they are about leaving the EU in economically the best possible way of doing so—the single market is the key element, not the customs union—and we can do it quickly as well. There are of course downsides: there are still issues about freedom of movement and whether we are a rule taker. As ever in this debate, there are shades of grey; it is not all just black and white.