Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:17 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Viscount Hailsham Viscount Hailsham Conservative 3:17 pm, 21st January 2019

My Lords, I will briefly explain why I support the amendment to the Motion. Any outcome of the present Brexit stalemate other than crashing out without a deal will require more time. I do not believe that there is any national or parliamentary majority for crashing out without a deal. That means we either have to extend the 29 March deadline or revoke Article 50. At the moment, the first option is probably the most acceptable course, but I could live with either. Supporting the amendment to the Motion is a method of encouraging the Government to obtain more time. It also enables the Government to respond to the perfectly sensible points and demands for information made by the noble Baroness and the noble Lord.

I will make two final points, if I may. First, we have arrived at the time when the national interest must be put first, before any narrow party interest. That is the duty of all parliamentarians. In fact, it also happens to coincide with the pragmatic interest. Secondly, speaking directly to my Front Bench: if we crash out without a deal, this Government and their Ministers will not be forgiven lightly, either by the electorate or by the millions of those—myself included—who have historically voted Conservative.