Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Reid of Cardowan Lord Reid of Cardowan Labour 3:45 pm, 21st January 2019

My Lords, I have only one brief point to make in response to our noble colleague the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde. He said that this is an extraordinary procedure. That is because we live in extraordinary times. No one in this country would have imagined even two or three years ago that we would be standing on the eve of the biggest act of self-immolation in economic terms in some 80 years and yet have no plans for the future. I was going to say that the continuity of which has been spoken is a vacuum, but that is too substantial a word for it. It is the most extraordinary set of circumstances that we have seen in my memory, having been involved in politics for over 40 or 50 years, and every day it gets more extraordinary.

Quite apart from the Bill, this morning Downing Street was apparently briefing that the solution would be for Downing Street to amend the Good Friday agreement—forgetting that even if that course of action might commend itself to this House, the Good Friday agreement is the product of two sovereign nations in a bilateral agreement, along with an American President and eight parties in Northern Ireland itself. Yet they speak as though they are ordering a pizza—as if they can just phone up and suddenly the order will be changed. If the noble Lord worries about extraordinary measures taken by this House, he should seek to remove the Government from the extraordinary position of incompetence and blindfold Brexit in which they find themselves.