My Lords, following the noble Lord, Lord Fox, I too have decided I will not repeat what I said five weeks ago. I learned from the noble Lord, Lord Newby, and the most reverend Primate. Speaking then about the deal on offer, I said how shocked I was by the humiliating nature of the treaty, and by how vacuous the declaration was and how toxic the combination was, in particular since, to me, it in no way predetermines or indicates what the nature of the future relationship will be. It seems the only certainty it guarantees is that there will be continuing uncertainty and rancour for a very considerable period, once we are trapped in the backstop.
What I said produced some unusual support; this was unaccustomed support for me from the Robespierres of the government Back Benches—the rebellious revolutionaries. I fear I must disappoint them today, because I want instead to talk about two things which have happened since our debate started. In particular, I want to draw the House’s attention to the Commission’s announcement on
“not place any tariffs, tariff barriers or obstacles against the importation of goods and services into the United Kingdom from the European Union”,—[
Why has the EU not responded to this extremely kind and generous proposal? Because the EU is a member of the World Trade Organization and is legally obliged to play by WTO rules, including the fundamental rule known as “most-favoured-nation”. If the EU allowed tariff-free access for our goods when we are a third country, as we will be from