European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:32 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Liddle Lord Liddle Labour 9:32 pm, 4th April 2019

The noble Lord, Lord Warner, makes a point, but I did not want to get into that.

What has not been mentioned is the extraordinarily frank memorandum which the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, circulated to the Cabinet. Let us remember who he is. He is the personal appointee of the Prime Minister, one of the officials in whom the Prime Minister has the most trust. As we know, the Prime Minister does not get close to many people, but she certainly has become very close to Sir Mark Sedwill, and he has written the most devastating critique of what would happen under no deal.

I think the Prime Minister is in a bad situation. She found herself trapped by no deal. Look at the present situation in the Conservative Party as a result of that foolish statement she made in Lancaster House. There are about 160 Tory MPs saying they prefer no deal to anything else and 75% of Conservative Party members saying they prefer no deal to anything else. About half the Cabinet is saying that. Why is this? It is because the concept of no deal was not knocked on the head early on in these negotiations. It would be ruinous for Britain.

This Bill is a parliamentary response to the grave danger we face. It has to be supported, and I very much hope the House will back it.