Leaving the European Union — [David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:54 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 5:54 pm, 4th February 2019

Because we are working towards a deal. There is a deal on the table. When Parliament took back control last Tuesday, it actually gave some indication that there is a possible deal out there. The Government want to deliver a deal, but a responsible Government plan for all eventualities. We are planning for a no-deal eventuality, just as the European Commission and the 27 other EU member states say they are in all the announcements that they make about what might happen in a no-deal circumstance. That should give the hon. Gentleman some limited comfort that a no-deal situation will not be as bad as he fears.

The hon. Gentleman wants to take no deal off the table, for the reason that it would be disastrous for the economy. To extend that logic to its obvious conclusion, I take it that he will try to persuade fellow Labour MPs not to contest the 2022 general election. We all know that a Labour Government lead to worsening economic conditions and make people poorer in general. If we should not do anything that makes people potentially poorer, the obvious conclusion is that he should not stand as a candidate in that general election. I thought he might want to rise to respond to that, but I understand if he wants to go for a cup of tea.

I thank all those who participated in today’s debate, and Clive Grenville, who set up the petition. He should be pleased with the number of people who signed it. Fundamentally, it asks the Government to respect the outcome of the 2016 referendum and deliver our withdrawal from the European Union, which millions voted for. I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam and those who signed the petition that the Government remain committed to delivering on the instruction given to us by the British people to leave. We remain clear that our policy is not to revoke article 50, or to extend it, delay or hold a second referendum on exit.