European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:13 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 3:13 pm, 4th September 2019

If Members will forgive me, I am not going to give way again at this point. I have been reasonably generous and I am conscious of the time.

It is important that we acknowledge the evidence before us about the consequences of no deal, because that evidence is the fundamental reason behind the Bill. As we heard from my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper when she spoke to her Bill earlier this year, it was reported that the Cabinet Secretary and National Security Adviser, Sir Mark Sedwill, had told the previous Cabinet that no deal would make our country “less safe”. If the National Security Adviser says that to the Cabinet, we ought to pay attention.

We have all seen the Government’s own economic assessment, which makes it clear that no deal would cause the greatest loss to the economy. Make UK, the body that represents British manufacturing industry, has described no deal as

“an act of economic vandalism”.

Since we last debated the question of an extension, new information about the consequences of no deal has come to light. The Government themselves have now admitted that there would be damage to companies. They have said that they are prepared to compensate certain businesses and industries. This is the first time in my experience that a Government have advocated a policy that they know will do economic damage.