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Queen’s Speech - Debate (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:42 pm on 28th June 2017.

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Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Labour 4:42 pm, 28th June 2017

My Lords, I thought I was moving an amendment to the Address. I thought the Government would give me a little longer to speak. In that case, let me cut to the end. I did have more I was going to say.

The issue that is clearly at the heart of my noble friend Lady Hayter’s amendment is “exact same benefits”. I suggest that this is a form of words which obscures a real and fundamental difference between us. The key question is: what happens if, as is almost certain, David Davis proves unable to negotiate these exact same benefits? Are we to crash out of the single market and the customs union, or are we to seek to stay in? The Prime Minister has made it clear that, in this eventuality, she would seek to crash out, but the right thing for the country is surely that we do precisely the opposite and stay in.

There are precisely 639 days between now and 29 March 2019, when on present policy we will automatically leave the EU on terms likely to be very bad for the UK. At a different historical crossroads, in 1963, Martin Luther King urged:

“This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action”.

If we do not make a stand today, there are not many days left.