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European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Part of Prime Minister’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 12:11 pm on 19th October 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:11 pm, 19th October 2019

I am genuinely grateful for that intervention, which I wanted to take, but the fact remains that the hon. Gentleman is right when he says that if the trade deals

“are not successful…
then we could leave on no-deal terms.”

Before we rush into the Lobbies, let us explore what that means.

The decision on extending transition, under this deal, needs to be taken by the end of July next year. That is eight months away. It is very hard to see how any Government could negotiate a completed future relationship within such a short timeframe, particularly a Government who want to diverge. The Prime Minister brushed this away earlier by saying, “Well, we’re aligned.” That is true, and if he wanted to stay aligned he could probably do a trade deal a lot more quickly, but this Prime Minister and this Government want to diverge. So, the idea that this does not lead to a no-deal Brexit is wrong, and nobody should vote for this deal on the basis that it is the way to ensure that we do not leave at the end of 2020 on WTO terms.