European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:02 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:02 pm, 4th September 2019

I rise in support of the Bill. The Prime Minister has decided that the UK should leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal. He says that he is making progress in talks with a view to getting a deal, but he is not. Chancellor Merkel says no proposals have been put forward by the Government. The Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland says no proposals have been put forward by the Government. Across the EU, everybody says no proposals have been put forward by the Government. Yesterday, the Government did not deny that they have not put forward proposals in these negotiations; they just dodged questions and refused to answer honest questions about whether there is any evidence of any progress in the talks.

The Government are convincing no one, and at Prime Minister’s questions today the Prime Minister tied himself completely in knots in suggesting that he had not put forward any proposals because this Bill might pass later this week. So for the last six weeks, he has not done anything in case a Bill he had not heard of gets Royal Assent sometime soon. Ridiculous! There is no progress, and there is no workable alternative on the table to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland. Indeed—this point has already been touched on—far from making progress on this crucial point, it was reported yesterday that the Government are seeking to backtrack, and to revisit the commitments to protect the all-Ireland economy, including the December joint report.