It is a year to the day since the Chancellor boasted that there was no need to plan for no deal because
“we will have a deal.”
Yet today, as we debate this Bill, we stand on the brink of a no-deal Brexit that would destroy jobs and livelihoods right across the United Kingdom. We have only 22 days to go until the end of the transition period, with still no deal in sight.
When we debated yesterday the Ways and Means resolutions associated with this Bill, a number of Government Members claimed that agreements between nations are often only finalised at the last minute—that there is nothing out of the ordinary about this Government’s approach. That is because for run-of-the-mill agreements there is a fall-back option, a status quo. But failing to reach a deal now does not mean a return to the status quo—that we stay as we are. It means extensive economic damage to the tune of an additional 2% loss of GDP, on top of the 4% loss of GDP that the Office for Budget Responsibility has calculated would be the impact of a very thin deal: the type of thin-as-gruel deal that the Conservatives look set to deliver.