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Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Claire Hanna Claire Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast South 6:15 pm, 8th January 2020

I do agree. In fact, I have been surprised to find myself in the same Lobby as the hon. Member several times today. That is how important these issues are to protecting jobs, consumers and our economy. He and I come from a place that has an emigration problem, and that problem is young people feeling the need to leave for opportunities elsewhere. That we have EU workers making their homes and paying their taxes where we live contributes to and enriches our economy, our community and our cultural lives. Everything must be done to protect those already feeling the cost of Brexit.

We spoke about the economic impact earlier, but I have spoken to EU citizens in my constituency who are already feeling the chill. Perhaps they are already being passed over for jobs or promotion because their employers do not know whether they will even be allowed to work here next year, or are asking, “Will I have to fill in lots of forms in order to continue to employ you?”

As I have said, we have covered an array of issues which have been set out very well by a number of Members, including the issue of child refugees. I do not mean this as an insult, but in many ways Conservative Members are the dog that caught the car. They have been chasing Brexit for a very long time, and now they have it. They have the numbers to get it done, and with that comes a duty to protect people from it. I do not believe that there is any good way to do Brexit, but they have those numbers, and they have that duty to take the roughest edges off it for the most vulnerable people.