Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:08 pm on 1st April 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 5:08 pm, 1st April 2019

My right hon. Friend and I are in complete agreement. As he quite rightly says, we must avoid no deal occurring by default in a fortnight’s time simply because the House of Commons could not agree on anything. In fact, 400 Members of the House of Commons have voted against no deal, and it would be calamitous just to collapse into it because we cannot reach any compromise among ourselves about what we actually wish to put forward.

I am trying to illustrate that my motion, which is for a permanent customs union, is perfectly compatible with a wider look at the subject but sets a basic agenda. I think it will help to minimise what I regard as the damaging consequences of leaving the European Union, and enable us to reassure the business and other interests in this country—some of them are absolutely panic-stricken—who view the great unknown and the end of the common market with great concern. I hope that the public, who are as polarised as this House in their opinions, will begin to be reassured. I hope that people will be reconciled to a compromise of leaving the political European Union but staying in the common market, to use the language of Eurosceptics over the years.