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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 18th April 2018.

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Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Labour 4:30 pm, 18th April 2018

I defer to the noble Viscount in his knowledge of millionaires. Maybe he is right, maybe he is wrong, but I do not think that they particularly enter into it. It is ordinary, hard-working people who will, of course, suffer the consequences if our trade collapses, and they are the people we should have at the front of our minds. However, on the point about trade with the wider world, almost two years ago a very thorough analysis of our trade and trade policy was made by a prominent politician in a speech. This is what she said:

“It is tempting to look at developing countries’ economies, with their high growth rates, and see them as an alternative to trade with Europe. But just look at the reality of our trading partnership with China—with its dumping policies, protective tariffs and industrial-scale industrial espionage. And look at the figures. We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and nearly three times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think that we could just replace European trade with these new markets”.

That was the current Prime Minister speaking on 25 April 2016, and I do not think anything has changed since.