European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
Seema Malhotra Excerpts
Wednesday 20th June 2018

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait Mr Rees-Mogg - Hansard
20 Jun 2018, 3:30 p.m.

I do apologise to the hon. Lady, but I will not give way, because other people want to speak, and time is very short.

Therefore, the rights of this House are intact. The legislation will ensure that the Government can pursue their objectives, which is very important. The Chief Whip is in his place. I commend him for the tactful way that he has discussed these issues with so many people over the past week to ensure that we could come to something that every Conservative Member is able to agree to and put their name to that maintains the privileges of this House, ensures that the Government can negotiate properly, and sends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State to the negotiating table with a united House of Commons behind them.

Seema Malhotra Portrait Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Jun 2018, 3:31 p.m.

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today. I will make just a couple of remarks.

I want to reiterate the comments that have been made that this is not about reversing Brexit or about tying the hands of the Government. This is about what happens and the role of Parliament if things go wrong. It is about clarity, about what will happen in this Parliament and to the interests of our country in the event of no deal, or no deal being agreed by this House.

It is incredibly disappointing to have reached this position. It could have been so different. A week after the referendum, I wrote to the then Prime Minister. I then wrote to the current Prime Minister. I made the argument that it was in the interests of our country that this House came together, that we had ways of working across parties, across this House and the House of Lords, and that we came to a solution together and worked through the issues together. But, step by step, we have seen a Government who have run and a Government who have hidden—a Government who have not even wanted to bring forward their own impact assessments so that we can take part in an evidence-based debate on the impact of Brexit on our country and get the answer right. A process by which this country comes together is essential if, in the autumn, we reach a situation in which what was unthinkable becomes thinkable. To have a way in which we handle that is our responsibility.

Every large Government project has a risk register and a response to those risks. This is a critical risk for our country and it is vital that, in advance of such a situation, we all know what is going to happen and that we have a say, on behalf of our constituents, about what could be an incredibly catastrophic situation for our economy, our country and our society.

Several hon. Members rose—