European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:05 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 6:05 pm, 3rd April 2019

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I start by welcoming some of the words of the Prime Minister from yesterday. She said as part of her announcement:

“This is a difficult time for everyone. Passions are running high on all sides of the argument”,

and that debate and division is

“putting Members of Parliament and everyone else under…pressure…and…doing damage to our politics.”

I think we all recognise the pressures that she is talking about and the efforts that Members on both sides of the House, and with all kinds of different views on Brexit, are making to do the right thing in the national interest, to do the right thing whatever their different views on Brexit, and to do the right thing for their constituents. I hope that the very respectful and thoughtful tone of the debate that we had on the programme motion will be continued in this debate as well.

We have put forward this cross-party Bill to avert no deal on 12 April. We have done so for fear of the damage that no deal would do to all our constituencies. We understand that the Cabinet Secretary and National Security Adviser to the Government, Sir Mark Sedwill, told the Cabinet yesterday that no deal would make our country “less safe”. The Cabinet has a responsibility to listen to that advice and I am extremely glad that it did. We understand, too, that the Cabinet was warned that food prices would go up by 10% in the event of no deal. Again, I am glad that it listened to that advice because that would have a huge impact on overstretched families across the country.