Further Developments in Discussions with the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:08 pm on 11th March 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Quin Baroness Quin Labour 4:08 pm, 11th March 2019

By far the best way forward would be not to leave the European Union, so that we would continue to benefit from the very good deal we have at present. I am also astonished that industry and the trade unions are being so little heeded at present, and dismissed as being part of some project fear. Yet it is businesses throughout the land that are alarmed at the practical negative economic consequences of Brexit and of making life difficult, in a highly competitive world, with our biggest and nearest market. This simply does not make sense.

The concerns and fears of our universities over research and student exchange programmes, of our health service over access to drugs and life-saving treatments, of our scientists, of those worried about food safety, which was rightly raised in this House earlier today at Question Time—all these serious issues keep being airily waved away as though they were of no consequence. Added to these problems are the political threats to our own union, the United Kingdom, with the dangers of heightening tension in Northern Ireland and the threat of reopening the prospect of Scotland breaking away.

It is true, as the Minister often tells us, that the referendum turnout was impressive, but the result was close and the amount of misinformation—on both sides—was shocking. I recently looked again at the main leave leaflet, which must surely win the prize for the most dishonest leaflet ever issued during a public vote. It struck me that, despite it having been claimed ever since that we voted against being part of the single market, in this main leave leaflet there was not one mention of the single market.

What I would like to see, but have little hope of seeing, is the Prime Minister, Mrs May, firmly putting country before party. She should be honest and say to people that she has tried her very best, as I think she has, to deliver on the referendum, but that her deal or a catastrophic no deal both fall far short of the benefits we currently enjoy as a full EU member and that, in consequence, she would like people to be given the chance to think again in the light of everything that has happened, or failed to happen, in the last two years. I hope, too, that the Commons will this week begin this process of rethinking with a resounding vote against no deal.