Section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019

Part of Exiting the European Union (Sanctions) – in the House of Commons at 5:09 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Jack Dromey Jack Dromey Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Pensions) 5:09 pm, 9th April 2019

The Jaguar plant lies at the heart of Erdington, which is rich in talent but one of the poorest constituencies in the country. The plant was turned around from closure in 2010, doubling in size to 3,300 jobs. It has transformed the lives of thousands of workers locally. It has now lost 1,000 jobs. It would be unthinkable to put it at risk.

The voice of the world of work could not be clearer—to the CBI and the TUC, we are facing a national emergency, so they say no to no deal. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders on building cars, the ADS on building planes and Make UK, the former Engineering Employers’ Federation, all say that a no-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe. The Food and Drink Federation says that prices would soar and that no deal would be a disaster. Our farmers would face immense problems with our biggest market, on the continent—no deal would be a disaster. The Investment Association is talking about the billions in money now flooding out of the country, rather than being invested here in our economy. The British Ceramic Confederation warns that household names will close in the next stages—the quintessentially English product of the Potteries.

There are those who believe that they know more about building cars than those who build cars, more about building planes than those who build planes and more about national security than the head of national security, who has warned against the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit. Those people are wrong. They talk about a managed no deal, but that is like a managed parachute jump without a parachute. Were we to plunge over the cliff into a no-deal Brexit, our country would be the poorer in every sense of the word for a generation. The task now is for us to come together in Parliament to find a way forward and a better deal for Britain.

In conclusion, I pay tribute to Tory colleagues with whom we have worked, the right hon. Members for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) and for Meriden (Dame Caroline Spelman), and to my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper for her outstanding leadership—all working together to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Why? Because it would be a catastrophe that our country would take a generation to recover from. We cannot go over the cliff.

One and a half hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on the motion, the Speaker put the Question (Standing Order No. 16(1)).