Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration - Motion to Take Note (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:40 am on 6th December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Hunt of Wirral Lord Hunt of Wirral Conservative 11:40 am, 6th December 2018

My Lords, I first draw attention to my interests as set out in the register, in particular as president of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association. The first day of this debate brought much heat but also much light. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, made the compelling observation that, for all of us who accept the result of the referendum, there are now just two options—this withdrawal agreement and the political declaration or else a hard or no-deal Brexit. I know which one of those I prefer.

The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke movingly of reconciliation, and that is a theme I will develop briefly in my few words this morning. His sentiments were echoed by the authentic voice of Wales in the closing contribution yesterday evening. My noble friend Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach ended his speech with a call for us to “lay aside prejudices” and pray for,

“wisdom greater than our own”,—[Official Report, 5/12/18; col. 1108.] and for “humility”.

My noble friend’s eloquent call for humility has a strong resonance with me—and not only because I was born in Wales. In a time of strife, there is great wisdom in humility, whereas dogmatic and entrenched positions serve our nation poorly. Perhaps I may say—if I am allowed to in view of the noble Lord who will follow me in this debate, because I know that it will appeal to him in particular—that the Labour Party on this issue needs to show some humility as well. Let us try to put party politics aside in the national interest. These are serious matters and the nation may never forgive them if they continue to try to play every twist and turn of this drama for party advantage.

It has taken the intervention of a distinguished former Secretary to the Cabinet to strip the Labour amendment to the government Motion of its unhelpfully partisan content and tone, transforming it into something respectable. Noble Lords will know that I personally believe that the Prime Minister is to be congratulated as she has set about the testing task of negotiating Brexit. Of course it was never a realistic hope that the outcome would or could please everyone. No one could achieve that. The responsibility that falls to her is to begin rebuilding—