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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:07 pm on 9th January 2020.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 2:07 pm, 9th January 2020

There is a fascinating journal, account and book to be written about this, and I am looking forward to the hon. Member’s memoirs after all this.

I want to pay tribute to some of the other people who have won today, in the great victory of this Brexit. I know that the Conservatives will, uncharitably, not do this, but somebody has to congratulate Nigel Farage. It is his vision that has been realised today. Without Nigel Farage, there would be no Brexit. Without the pressure that was put on the Conservative party from whatever incarnation of his party existed at the time, there would not be the hard Brexit that they are all celebrating today. Come on, Conservatives—give the man a peerage, for goodness’ sake! He, more than anybody else, deserves it. And wouldn’t it be comedy gold for a man who rails against unelected politicians to be given an unelected place in the legislature? Please do it, just for the comedy value.

We are not just passing a piece of legislation today. We are actually entering into a new age, a new epoch: the age of hard Brexitism. Everything that this House does from this point on will be informed and directed by this new atmosphere, culture and direction of the United Kingdom. I am trying to think of a poster boy for the new hard Brexit age, and the only thing that comes to my mind is Mr Francois in combat casuals flying a Spitfire to the sound of hope and glory heading straight to the ground because his aircraft has suffered engine failure. That is the image that comes to mind in the new Brexit age, and God help us as we go forward. It is viciously right-wing and isolationist, and takes no account of the views of anywhere else around the whole world today. It is this new age of hard Brexit that we are now entering into.

I am looking around for some of the other hon. Members on the Conservative Benches. Obviously Mr Paterson is here, but I am looking for the newly knighted dark lord of Brexit austerity, Sir Iain Duncan Smith. He is not in his place, and neither is John Redwood, who so excited us with his tales of English nationalism. None of them is here, but all of them have to be congratulated. They are now the mainstream of the Conservative party. They effectively manipulated what was a moderate centrist party to become this party of Brexit extremists. They booted out all the moderates; none of them is here now. There is no debate or discussion, or any sort of contradiction of the views of hard Brexiteers any more, because they have booted all the moderates out. This is the new Conservative consensus, and I hope that the party today in the Bulldog Club is generous and full of largesse, and that they very much enjoy it.