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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 will make some progress and then give way again. [Interruption.] I have given way so much. I will give way again. I do need to make some progress so that others can get in.

I turn briefly to amendment (a) in the name of Sir Oliver Letwin. I thank him and colleagues across the House for the cross-party work they have done in recent months. The amendment, which is genuinely cross-party, is in that spirit. It makes it clear that this House will not be bounced into supporting what is a very bad deal without a proper chance to scrutinise it. It would allow the House to ensure that the legal text is acceptable and provide time to seek changes in the passage of implementing legislation. It would ensure that the Benn Act can be applied.

May I say this? The amendment does not cause delay, because that exercise will have to be gone through anyway. It is not a vote to delay; it is a vote to get on with looking at the next stage, which will have to be looked at. What it does provide is an insurance policy against signing up to a deal that is not what it seems, with the risk of a no-deal Brexit to boot.

The deal before the House is a thoroughly bad deal. It is a bad deal for jobs, rights and living standards. It is a bad deal for the future direction of the country. It will put us on a path to an entirely different economy and society: one of deregulation and divergence. It will end in either a bare bones free trade agreement or no deal in eight months. It stands against everything that the labour and trade movement stands for—[Interruption.]