We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:07 pm on 22nd October 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green 3:07 pm, 22nd October 2019

I am not going to give way any more; I have given way enough.

If there is any attempt in this process to amend the Bill to keep us in a customs union, I would simply argue that I thought it was made very clear throughout—and there were many comments by Opposition Members, including the Leader of the Opposition, to this effect—that leaving the customs union was part of the package of leaving. [Interruption.] Others will disagree. I do not say that they are wrong. I simply say that I think it was pretty explicit throughout the whole referendum campaign that the jewel in the crown of leaving was being able to set our own trade negotiations and trade deals. Taking that power back is a really critical part of taking back control. If we handed that power back, it would be an enormous mistake. It also has to be said that such an amendment—this will be up to Mr Speaker, of course—would be a wrecking amendment, because it is not possible to go back and ask the EU to change the deal one more time. Such an amendment would therefore wreck the Bill and there would be only one reason for it: to stop this Bill and prevent us from leaving the European Union. Although others will want to do that, I do not agree with them.

We all have to make difficult choices. I do want the Government to engage enormously with our colleagues from Northern Ireland, because there is very much an issue regarding them leaving with us when we strike a future trade deal. It is really important that we engage with them, because we must leave as one Union, not separated or separable.