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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee (7th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 14th March 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Altmann Baroness Altmann Conservative 4:15 pm, 14th March 2018

My Lords, I rise to support this group of amendments and I commend all those noble Lords who have tabled and spoken so eloquently to them. I too deeply regret that they are even necessary. It is hard to believe that in purporting to respect the referendum result, which the Government have portrayed as wanting to take back control, this legislation does not ensure that it is our Parliament rather than one group of Ministers that will have proper control over the future EU relationship. There must be a meaningful vote for Parliament.

We cannot accept a Bill which fails to respect the sovereignty of Parliament on an issue of such magnitude. That is how our democracy works. I support in particular Amendments 199, 216 and 217, tabled in the names of several of my noble friends, which relate to the no deal position. We are trying to deliver what the British people voted for and they trust us to do that well. Surely, we know that the will of the people is not a no deal outcome. Indeed, we were given in detail in the debate this morning on the first amendments a snapshot of the many disasters that could befall our country and its citizens if we lose all the benefits of the EU safeguards, protections and agencies on which their daily lives depend, as well as our industrial success.

These amendments are about parliamentary control and guarding against a no deal outcome—just in case that is the outcome which is envisaged. Enough of the bluster and bravado; enough of those who are still saying that no deal is okay; and enough of seeming to rely on the EU to rescue us from the cliff edge before we jump because they assume that Europe does not want the damage that the no deal outcome would do. I say this to my noble friend the Minister: please accept these amendments or bring forward an appropriate government version on Report which puts our Parliament properly at the centre and in control of protecting our national interest in this Bill.