European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:36 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 6:36 pm, 3rd April 2019

Absolutely. This was specifically about the impact of no deal—this Bill is clearly about ruling out the possibility of no deal—and the concerns of these businesses about the impact of VAT being applied. They went much beyond that in terms of the impact of no deal on Northern Ireland, extending to, for example, security and the issue that I referred to earlier—the European arrest warrant. No deal would have an effect on labelling; there would be uncertainties as to whether a company that manufactures here but also has shops in other parts of Europe would need to change its labelling. Clearly, the impact of no deal goes far beyond some of the issues that have been raised today. I hope that this Bill will provide clarity on the extension. I am open about believing that the extension needs to be a lengthy one, of the sort businesses were talking to me about earlier today. That is one way of ruling out no deal.

Finally, I wish to mention something related to the point made by the spokesperson for the Greens, on the legitimacy of the vote of three years ago. Trade union legislation requires ballots to be rerun after six months to ensure that they are valid and that the views expressed in a ballot six months earlier remain valid six months on. Clearly, that could equally apply to a ballot that took place three years ago. I hope that we will allow this Bill to proceed through its Second Reading. I know that we have a number of amendments in Committee, one of which applies to a people’s vote. I hope that we will get to debate that shortly, too.