Kwasi Kwarteng: rose—
Kwasi Kwarteng: What assessment he has made of the potential merits of an implementation period after the UK leaves the EU.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that the implementation period must be finite and that it will not preclude us from engaging in third-party discussions with other countries that would like to do free trade deals with us?
Kwasi Kwarteng: I hate to rain on my right hon. Friend’s parade, but if we had a proposal to abolish Parliament entirely, that would also be particularly popular, would it not?
Kwasi Kwarteng: Yes, you are.
Kwasi Kwarteng: Will the hon. Lady give way?
Kwasi Kwarteng: My only regret in speaking is that, given the constraints on our time, you have imposed a six-minute limit on our speeches, Madam Deputy Speaker, and I feel that I could speak for a long time on the important subject of our debate. The Bill is precisely the sort of responsible measure that a good, decent, forward-looking Government would introduce to avoid the cliff edge that we are told is a...
Kwasi Kwarteng: I know that the hon. Gentleman has been listening to the debate with rapt attention, and he will have noticed in the course of several hours of discussion that we are leaving Euratom because, if he remembers, we voted to leave the EU last year. It was not the British Government who said we had to leave Euratom, but the Commission. The EU itself said that, as a consequence of voting to leave...
Kwasi Kwarteng: Forgive me, but one of the hon. Gentleman’s colleagues mentioned—we can all look at Hansard tomorrow—that our diplomacy was being ridiculed and was somehow deficient. If someone says that diplomacy is deficient, they are criticising the diplomats who are conducting that diplomacy, and I am afraid that most of those diplomats are indeed civil servants, so that was criticism...
Kwasi Kwarteng: We’re all doomed!
Kwasi Kwarteng: My hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse) was suggesting that he was precisely the only person in Britain who had gone to the polls in order to leave Euratom, so my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare) is making his point for him.
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way once again. Is it not particularly significant that this is part of a contingency plan, in the light of the objections that we will somehow have a so-called hard Brexit?
Kwasi Kwarteng: The whole purpose of this Bill is to plan for the contingency where we leave Euratom, so how can the hon. Lady say that?
Kwasi Kwarteng: Is the hon. Lady seriously suggesting that there would be any circumstances in which well-qualified nuclear professionals would be prevented from coming into this country? Does she think, plausibly, that that is an outcome we might get to?
Kwasi Kwarteng: My hon. Friend’s precise point was that the Germans had retreated and left the field of civil nuclear energy. So the hon. Gentleman has drawn exactly the wrong conclusion.
Kwasi Kwarteng: My hon. Friend clearly knows a lot about this subject, so on a point of information to illuminate the House, what does he think about the French attitude to nuclear power?
Kwasi Kwarteng: It is a great honour to have been called in this serious debate. I am pleased by the way in which it has been conducted, as we have heard some very good speeches, in particular the maiden speech by the hon. Member for Portsmouth South (Stephen Morgan). It was an amusing, entertaining, heartfelt and serious speech, and I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman will make valuable contributions...
Kwasi Kwarteng: That was a fair intervention, but I completely disagree with the hon. Lady’s point. The deficit had nothing to do with the then Secretary of State for Health. It was not the previous Secretary of State for Health who caused the £160 billion deficit the Government inherited in 2010. Naturally, when running a huge deficit—I think it was something like 12% of GDP—one has...
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am not privy to the conversations the right hon. Gentleman has had with the Prime Minister—that is something he might wish to take up with her—but this is a serious debate. As he said, we cannot be honest with people on this issue if we are simply screaming and shouting across the Dispatch Box. Conservative and Opposition Members have made the point that we have extremely...
Kwasi Kwarteng: At what point does my hon. Friend think the hon. Lady decided to make that U-turn? Can he enlighten the House on that? It seems a real puzzle.