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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Leader of the Liberal Democrats 4:00 pm, 22nd October 2019

Brexit will be bad for our country and that is why Liberal Democrats will be voting against this Bill tonight. We know that it will be bad for the economy, because the Government’s own assessment in November 2018 looked at the impact of a free trade agreement on the British economy and concluded that it would mean that our economy would shrink by more than 6%— greater than the amount that the economy shrank during the financial crash.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that this will self-evidently be good for our country and economy, but I do not know when we decided to do away with the idea of having any financial responsibility and looking at the actual numbers. This Government have not even bothered to do a proper economic impact assessment. I am sure that we do not all agree with Michael Gove, who said that he had “had enough of experts”—actually, I would quite like the Government to get the experts to look at this, thank you very much.

We know that Brexit will be bad for our NHS. We have already lost 5,000 nurses from other EU countries from our NHS. At a time when we face a huge shortage of nurses, we can ill afford to lose 5,000 EU nurses and to lose more in future. The truth is that freedom of movement is good for our NHS. It is good for our public services and good for our economy.