United Kingdom’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:58 pm on 29th March 2019.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Conservative, North Shropshire 12:58 pm, 29th March 2019

Other Members want to speak, so I must push on.

The issue is live. Those people are out there and they believe that it should happen and that we should deliver it. It is not going back. It cannot be put back in the bottle, with the top screwed on, and then hidden in a cupboard or put in the fridge. That huge vote will continue to dominate our politics. The issue is not going away.

It is extraordinary that the fifth largest economy in the world is proposing to have laws imposed on it by 27 other countries, many of which are competitors that have no incentive to pass law in our interest. We will not be present when the law is made and we will not be able to amend or repeal it, and if we do not apply it to the satisfaction of the European Commission and, ultimately, the European Court of Justice, we will be subject, as we heard during last week’s urgent question, to unlimited fines—“disallowance”, in EU-speak.

We have the horror facing Northern Ireland. The whole basis of getting the Unionist population to vote for the Belfast agreement was the principle of consent. There was an extraordinarily successful campaign by Lord Trimble; it was an amazing effort to get Unionists to vote for it. The basis was trust that the status of Northern Ireland could not be changed, yet we are going to have something horrible called UKNI, which is actually in breach of the Acts of Union of 1801.