Progress reports

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:00 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Sport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales) 1:00 pm, 18th July 2019

I rise to offer the SNP’s support for both Lords amendment 1 and the amendment tabled to it by Hilary Benn.

President Tusk asked the UK not to waste its time. Instead, this Government have been self-indulgent, focusing on internal machinations and the leadership election, all while this zombie Parliament is left cooling its heels instead of getting on with the job of dealing with Brexit.

The UK Government’s own analysis shows the catastrophic impact that a no-deal outcome would have, yet some on the Government Benches are still quoting no deal. The default should be to revoke article 50, not to impose a no-deal Brexit. There would be a democratic constitutional crisis were Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament. Last week, I said that, given the fact that a clear majority of MPs are opposed to the UK leaving without a deal, the Prorogation of Parliament to facilitate a no-deal would be unconstitutional, undemocratic and entirely untenable. The fact that the Prime Minister in waiting, only elevated to office by Conservative party members, refuses to rule this out tells me that he is unfit for high office.

The Government’s own assessment shows that no deal could leave the UK economy up to 9% smaller after 15 years, and that two of the worst hit areas economically in a no-deal scenario would be Scotland with an 8% hit to GDP and Northern Ireland itself with a hit to GDP of over 9%. Mark Carney, and pretty much everybody else if we are honest, refuted the unsubstantiated suggestion of the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip that the WTO—general agreement on tariffs and trade—arrangements would enable the UK to avoid EU tariffs in the event of a no deal. David Watt, lately of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Frankly, it’s difficult to imagine a policy that inflicts more economic harm on the UK and Scotland. The fact that we’ve inflicted this on ourselves simply beggars belief.”

The chief executive of Make UK, representing British manufacturers, said that

“it would be the height of economic lunacy to take the UK out of the EU with no deal in place.”