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Queen’s Speech - Debate (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:17 pm on 28th June 2017.

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Photo of Viscount Eccles Viscount Eccles Conservative 7:17 pm, 28th June 2017

My Lords, I am not competent to follow that most interesting and in-depth speech from the noble Lord. Indeed, my original speech is in the bin. I thought, as I wrote it, that I could not see how we would get ourselves out of the muddle we are in, so I was going to say that that made me a sympathiser with the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong: “Stop the world, I want to get off”—not that his recipe would be acceptable.

The debate so far, the analysis of what we face and the response have been so muddled and woeful that it was no surprise when the young voted against the idea that the Prime Minister’s authority needed reinforcing. I may say that that goes for my quite extended family. Authority to do what? To be a delegate to deliver a Nigel Farage outcome? To eschew dialogue and consultation and go ahead on fixed nationalistic lines? That is not negotiation as they understood it, and I can only agree. There was no attempt to describe other points of view or create good will. Lip service was paid to making things work for all on both sides of the channel, but there was no detail of how and why we would propose and negotiate a bespoke agreement, which is what we and the 27 need—but only, I fear, in the longer run. We are bound to take a long time to get there.

Today has given me some hope. Maybe there will be cross-party work done. Both the leading parties have good reason to look for consensus within and between themselves. Maybe devolved views will gain their place. Maybe we will listen carefully to the 27; they have their problems too. If so, let us watch, as the noble Lord, Lord Jopling, said, and wait and see how negotiations go—friendly and constructive negotiations, God willing. Hold our fire. Maybe we are not simply exiting such a cruel, unhelpful world but instead building a new relationship with the 27. Europe needs it.