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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:29 pm on 9th January 2020.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 4:29 pm, 9th January 2020

No, I am going to make some progress.

Neil Parish claimed that it was the uncertainty that we had in the last Parliament that undermined our negotiations. Well, now we will see, because now there are no excuses for Conservative Members. There is no sense that Parliament’s position is unknown. It is clear that we are going to leave the EU, and now they have no one else to blame. It is entirely their responsibility, and the fishermen, the farmers and the car workers up at Nissan will see whether it was this Parliament that was preventing the Government from getting the deal that they promised during the referendum.

As we vote on this tonight—as my hon. Friend Paul Blomfield rightly said, this is only the first part of all this and we will get on to the detail after that vote—I am minded to remember that Vote Leave promised us during the last referendum that

“we will negotiate the terms of a new deal before we start any legal process to leave”.

That was one of the central promises of the Vote Leave campaign. When we vote tonight, we will be voting against that promise made by Vote Leave—we will be leaving the EU and then deciding on what basis we leave. But let us see if the Government are able to negotiate this much better deal. I confess that I will feel a huge sense of relief when the Bill passes tonight, so that we can move on to the next stage, and we will see whether the Government are able to deliver in any way on the promises that they made.

The future relationship is not sorted, and it is now for the Conservative party and its MPs to decide what that future relationship will be. They may well do it without Parliament having much of a say. Opponents of the new Tory Eurosceptic consensus have been swept away, and the supine, obedient group of Europhobic robots that we see in front of us have taken their place. Like lambs, they will lead us in whichever direction is ordered by Boris Johnson, who will receive his orders from Dominic Cummings. We will see what direction they take us in.