I congratulate my hon. Friend Julia Lopez on securing the debate, not least because it really has lived up to the quality that we hoped for. The debate has showcased voices from across our country—London, the midlands, the south and, now, the north-east—talking about the issues that matter to our constituents.
My hon. Friend Eddie Hughes referred to his constituents. When I was talking to mine on the 2017 election trail, I was able to make three firm promises to them: first, that we would leave the single market and the customs union; secondly, that we would leave the European Union at the end of the two-year period under article 50, which turned out to be until
It was therefore both surprising and disappointing that on
Despite repeated promises that the UK would leave the EU on
“no-deal operational planning with immediate effect”.
Brilliant. At the same time, the Government have wasted lots more valuable time in predictably futile negotiations with Labour MPs, too many of whom take the view that the same people who elected them are, in fact, stupid and should be ignored. The complete absence of those MPs today speaks volumes.
Those few in the Labour party who still notionally claim to respect the referendum mandate have decided, for reasons not well understood, to advocate the worst-of-all-worlds position of staying in the customs union. Entering into a customs union would hand Brussels total control of our trade and customs policy, and preclude our right to sign trade deals with the rest of the world. Worse, when the EU signed a trade agreement with another country—for example, China—we would be compelled to make all the concessions agreed to by the EU.