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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:27 pm on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 3:27 pm, 22nd October 2019

The right hon. Lady is absolutely correct. The Bill was published only last night. Effective scrutiny takes time. I can see many sitting on the Government Benches who, if this was happening with the boot on the other foot, would be screaming like mad that this House was not being able to express its democratic obligation to look at things carefully.

The transition period will end at the end of 2020. If the Government wish to seek an extension to transition, they have to apply for it by the summer of next year. Does anybody in this House really think that the United Kingdom is going to be able to conclude a complex trade arrangement with the European Union by the summer of next year, giving us the security of knowing that we do not need that extension? Quite frankly, they are living in a fantasy land if they do. On that basis, I say to Members all around the House, but particularly to Opposition Members who are tempted to vote with the Government this evening: be careful, because you are writing a blank cheque to the Prime Minister and the Vote Leave campaign that runs this Government to drive the United Kingdom out of the European Union on a no-deal basis at the end of next year—and, friends, there is nothing you can do to stop it.