Brexit: Negotiations - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:39 pm on 20th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour 8:39 pm, 20th November 2018

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Bridges, made the point that the political declaration is absolutely vital and central to our future. He is right; there is no question about that. We need to have a clear view of what the destination is in all our negotiations. What are the challenges facing us as we debate the issues? They are: the inescapability of global interdependence; how we handle economic and resource issues in the world community; security; migration—we talk about immigration, but that is the consequence of the huge migration issues covering the world as a whole—and climate change. In our own, more immediate society, there are the issues of poverty and social justice. As we heard powerfully from the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, culture, the arts and creativity—which make our country worth living in—are intimately related to the free movement of people.

As a nation, under any Government, we never really got the reality of the European project. It started with the coal and steel community, which was real: it was about how they were going to manage that community in their mutual interest. But anybody who thinks that the coal and steel community was an end in itself is self-deluding. It was always a political project; it was really about how you built peace and stability within Europe. There are now wider global issues as well. Whatever our party, whoever our leaders, wherever we are going, the words of the noble Lord, Lord Bridges, should be right in front of us: it is the political declaration. If we are in the community, or closely related to it, we have to have a strategy. If we are out of it, our own society has got to have a political statement of some convincing nature. In the end, the issues that face us are political ones of direction and strategy. Vision is what this country needs; vision and purpose. When I came out of government back in 1979, my family asked me what I had learned in my years in Parliament. I had one answer: within the political system as it was then—God knows how much more it is like that now—tactics were the total enemy of strategy. What is lacking is strategy.