Withdrawal Agreement: Proposed Changes

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Peter Grant Peter Grant Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union) 3:39 pm, 7th October 2019

I congratulate the Minister on managing not once but twice to include all this week’s Brexit buzzwords in such a short but, I am sorry to say, not particularly informative answer.

The Government have made public only their version of a seven-page explanatory document based on a full 44-page legal text. Last week, a number of Government loyalists criticised Opposition Members for saying we were likely to oppose the Prime Minister’s plan before we had read it properly. They then went ahead and committed themselves to supporting it before they had read it properly—they cannot have seen it or read it properly, because nobody has seen it yet.

It is simply not acceptable for us to be asked to commit to support something based on the Prime Minister’s version of what it says, because none of us can trust what he tells us. Last week, he twice gave us a promise from the Dispatch Box—once to David Duguid and once to my hon. Friend Patrick Grady—that the Government are going to restore full control of Scotland’s fishing to the people of Scotland. If only that were true.

The Taoiseach told us that the Prime Minister’s version of what is in the 44-page confidential document was not accurate. The Prime Minister told us last week that there would be no checks on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but even the seven-page summary tells us that that was not true.

Does the Minister not accept that if he is to have any hope of Parliament agreeing to the withdrawal agreement, he must trust Parliament and allow us to see the full agreement now, not at the last minute when there is no time to read 44 pages of detail? When will the document be published? When can we expect to be asked to vote on the deal? How much notice will we have regarding the detailed legal text? Going back to the question that is still being dodged, does the Prime Minister’s proposal mean that there will be additional infrastructure anywhere in relation to the Irish border? If so, where will it be?