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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:32 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Labour 5:32 pm, 11th March 2019

There is no question about that: I have got a lot wiser, because I voted no in 1975. This same poll showed that 55% of young voters would be angry if the UK left the EU without a public vote, compared to 9% who would be happy to leave without a vote.

The point is that I do not have to rely on a media report of a poll. In fact, the only reason I put my name down for today’s debate was that I thought something might have changed. But I also knew, by the middle of last week, that I was going to a sixth-form college on Friday to have a chat about Brexit and to listen. I was at Hereford Sixth Form College with a group of about 100 students. The straw poll at the beginning of our discussion mirrored exactly what that BMG poll said—it was about four or five to one in favour of remain—but after an hour we left the meeting with two key questions that they raised after consideration. They were really concerned whether, if there is another vote, 16 year-olds would be able to vote, “as it is our future”, and whether—because they are citizens of the world—it would be more difficult to address climate change when we are outside the EU. I did not discuss that with them but I can tell noble Lords that we will be outside the emissions trading system and the integrated electricity market, and it will be virtually impossible for the UK to give a lead to anybody on anything if we leave the EU.

We have led on climate change in many ways. We boast about our Bill having been the first to be legislated: I presented its Second Reading in this House. Young people are thinking about their future and that of the planet; the group in Hereford are a credit to today’s young people. In fact, I trust them far more than I do the inadequate political leadership in all our parties, particularly the two main parties, at present.