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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:32 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Labour 10:32 pm, 4th April 2019

Dirty Russian money flooding into London, which allegedly funded part of the campaign on digital media, is a serious issue. We in this country have not taken it as seriously as the Americans have started to take it. One only has to look at the material that comes out of the Khodorkovsky Center and what happens in parts of London. We have taken legal powers, but we have not taken enough action about the money that is swilling around.

The noble Lord, Lord Stern, also made a powerful speech. Economics has never been my strong point, but, to be honest, what he said scared the hell out of me. The consequences of walking out without any arrangements in place are very worrying.

I will touch on another aspect: the food issue, which my noble friend Lord Howarth mentioned. We were due to have a debate on Brexit-related food prices and on the effects of leaving without a deal. Some 30% of our food comes from the EU, 50% is made here, and 20% comes from elsewhere. A 22% average increase in tariffs will not lead to a 22% increase in food prices, but, when you talk to industry, you realise that the 10% that the National Security Adviser scared the hell out of the Cabinet with is realistic. That is a 10% increase at the checkout as a result of no deal. You cannot gainsay that—the facts and the evidence are there. It is no good saying, “You’ve been a-scaring—it’ll be all right in time”. It will be all right in time for those who can afford to carry the burden in the meantime, but that is one serious problem that the National Security Adviser warned the Cabinet about.