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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:30 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Alli Lord Alli Labour 7:30 pm, 8th May 2018

My Lords, I thank everyone who participated in the debate. We have had a full debate and it was encouraging to hear the voice of business come through, particularly as it is often stifled by rhetoric and dogma. I thank the Minister for what he said. Clearly, I disagree with him. The noble Lord, Lord Kerr, and my noble friend Lord Mandelson, best set out the kind of negotiation one would expect to have with the EEA, which would be different. In the absence of anything else, this is where we are left. I also thank my own Front Benchers for their courtesy and the way they handled this difficult situation, with many of us on this side of the House wanting to vote for this amendment. It has been a privilege to work with them. I want to say that on the record.

I will highlight a couple of other people from the debate. It will be my only opportunity, and that of many in this House, to say thank you to the noble Baroness, Lady Altmann, who has done an extraordinary job managing to herd the cats that are non-aligned on this Bill with regular updates and emails. I am sure that noble Lords who have had those will join me in thanking her for the work she has done. I highlight two speeches above anything else. It is very brave to speak against your own party when you do not normally do so. The contributions of the noble Baronesses, Lady Verma and Lady McGregor-Smith, were exemplary. To take something you believe in and to say and make those arguments against the wishes of your own party shows real bravery and independence. It has been a real privilege to be on the same amendment as them.

I am sure it will be of no surprise to the Minister that I reject his thesis entirely. I also reject the notion that if those of us in business and services wait long enough, the Government will come up with something to tell us about their trade negotiations. It simply does not wash. I ask my side to take the examples of the noble Baronesses, Lady Verma and Lady McGregor-Smith. Be brave and vote—as they say in Ireland, vote often if you can. I beg to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 245, Noes 218.