Edward Miliband debates with Cabinet Office

There have been 10 exchanges between Edward Miliband and Cabinet Office

Mon 14th September 2020 United Kingdom Internal Market Bill 17 interactions (3,750 words)
Tue 11th February 2020 Transport Infrastructure 3 interactions (81 words)
Mon 25th March 2019 European Council 3 interactions (71 words)
Wed 20th March 2019 Oral Answers to Questions 3 interactions (101 words)
Tue 12th February 2019 Leaving the EU 3 interactions (75 words)
Mon 21st January 2019 Leaving the EU 3 interactions (30 words)
Mon 14th January 2019 Leaving the EU 3 interactions (144 words)
Mon 11th December 2017 Brexit Negotiations 3 interactions (56 words)
Mon 9th October 2017 UK Plans for Leaving the EU 3 interactions (71 words)
Wed 21st June 2017 Debate on the Address 3 interactions (6 words)

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
(Money resolution: House of Commons)
(Programme motion: House of Commons)
Edward Miliband Excerpts
Monday 14th September 2020

(1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

I thank my hon. Friend for the spirit in which he asked his question and made that important point. He is absolutely right to focus on where we are now in our talks on the free trade agreement. It is by passing the Bill tonight and in subsequent days that we will make the possibility of that great free trade agreement more real and get it done sooner.

Therefore, with this Bill we will expedite a free trade agreement not only with our European friends and partners, but with friends and partners around the world; we will support jobs and growth throughout the whole United Kingdom; we will back our negotiators in Brussels; and, above all, we will protect the territorial integrity of the UK and the peace process in Northern Ireland. I urge the House to support the Bill and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Steve Brine) rightly said, to get back to the business of securing a free trade agreement with our closest neighbours that we would all wish to see. I commend the Bill to the House.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, 12:07 a.m.

I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from “That” to the end of the Question and add:

“this House notes that the UK has left the EU; calls on the Government to get on with negotiating a trade deal with the EU; recognises that legislation is required to ensure the smooth, effective working of the internal market across the UK; but declines to give a Second Reading to the Internal Market Bill because this Bill undermines the Withdrawal Agreement already agreed by Parliament, re-opens discussion about the Northern Ireland Protocol that has already been settled, breaches international law, undermines the devolution settlements and would tarnish the UK’s global reputation as a law-abiding nation and the UK’s ability to enforce other international trade deals and protect jobs and the economy.”

There are two questions at the heart of the Bill and of why we will oppose it tonight. First, how do we get an internal market after 1 January within the UK while upholding the devolution settlements, which have been a vital part of our constitution for two decades and are essential to our Union? Secondly, will our country abide by the rule of law—a rules-based international order, for which we are famous around the world and have always stood up?

Those are not small questions. They go to the heart of who we are as a country and the character of this Government. Let me start with the first question. An internal market is vital for trade and jobs at home, but also for our ability to strike trade deals. It is the responsibility of the UK Government at Westminster to safeguard that market and legislate. On that, we agree with the Government. But that must be done while understanding that the governance of our country has changed in the last two decades. Two decades of devolution settlements reflect a decision that we would share power across our four nations, including devolving key powers over issues such as animal welfare, food safety and aspects of environmental legislation. We should legislate for an internal market, but in a way that respects the role and voice of devolved Governments in setting those standards. That is to respect the devolution settlement. From across the UK, we have heard that the Government are not doing that; that they want to legislate with a blunderbuss approach that does not do that and simply says that the lowest standard in one Parliament must become the standard for all, with no proper voice for devolved Governments. If the Westminster Government decided to lower standards, there would be no voice for the devolved nations, even in a discussion about those standards because the Government have decided not to legislate for common frameworks.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP) - Hansard

The right hon. Gentleman is getting to the nub of the matter. We have Joint Ministerial Committees, and huge progress had been made in the last few months on agreeing frameworks that would allow us to do exactly what the right hon. Gentleman asked for. Is not the right way to proceed through frameworks in agreement with the devolved Administrations, not the race to the bottom that we get with the Bill?

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, midnight

The right hon. Gentleman and I come from different positions. I want to respect the devolution settlements that uphold the Union and he has a different point of view, but on this matter we should be legislating for common frameworks. That would be the way to respect devolution. I do not know whether the Prime Minister even understands the legislation—I know he has many things on his plate—but I am sorry to say that on this issue, the Government’s approach has been cavalier. Since 2017, common frameworks have developed and the Government could have legislated for that. We will seek to do that during the Bill’s passage.

The issues were prefigured in the White Paper. Since then, we have an even bigger question to confront. Let me say at the outset that we want the smoothest trade across our United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. There is a way to resolve those issues in the Joint Committee set up for that purpose. I have to say that, from a man who said he wanted to get Brexit done and won an election on it, the Bill gets Brexit undone by overturning key aspects of the protocol that were agreed.

I have been part of many issues of contention across the Dispatch Box, but I never thought that respecting international law would be a matter of disagreement in my lifetime. As Leader of the Opposition, I stood opposite the Prime Minister’s predecessor David Cameron for five years. I do not know why the Prime Minister is rolling his eyes. I disagreed with David Cameron profoundly on many issues, but I could never have imagined him coming along and saying, “We are going to legislate to break international law” on an agreement that we had signed as a country less than a year earlier. Yet that is what the Bill does, in the Government’s own words.

I want to address three questions at the heart of the matter. Is it right to threaten to break the law in the way the Government propose? Is it necessary to do so? Will it help our country? The answer to each question is no. Let us remember the context and the principle. If there is one thing that we are known for around the world, it is the rule of law. This is the country of Magna Carta; the country that is known for being the mother of all Parliaments; and the country that, out of the darkness of the second world war, helped found the United Nations. Our global reputation for rule making, not rule breaking, is one of the reasons that we are so respected around the world. When people think of Britain, they think of the rule of law. Despite what the Prime Minister said in his speech, let us be clear that this is not an argument about remain versus leave. It is an argument about right versus wrong.

The Brexiteer and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lamont, says that the Bill is impossible to defend. The Brexiteer and former Attorney General who helped to negotiate and sign off this deal as Attorney General says that the Bill is “unconscionable”. And the Brexiteer Lord Howard—the Prime Minister’s former boss—said this:

“I never thought it was a thing I’d hear a British minister, far less a Conservative minister, say, which is that the government was going to invite parliament to act in breach of international law…We have a reputation for probity, for upholding the rule of law, and it’s a reputation that is very precious and ought to be safeguarded, and I am afraid it was severely damaged…by the bill”.

Sir Bernard Jenkin Portrait Sir Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con) - Hansard

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the EU has been negotiating in good faith?

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, 12:02 a.m.

It is very interesting that the hon. Gentleman should say that because a report came out today from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, which is chaired by a Conservative Member. This is what the report says and this is my answer to him:

“These talks began in March and continued throughout the summer in a spirit of good faith and mutual respect for the delicate arrangements in Northern Ireland.”

That is what the Conservative-controlled Select Committee says about this issue.

The Prime Minister has said many times that he wants to bring unity to the country during his premiership. I therefore congratulate him on having, in just one short year, united his five predecessors. Unfortunately, their point of agreement is that he is trashing the reputation of this country and trashing the reputation of his office. Why are these five former Prime Ministers so united on this point? It is because they know that our moral authority in the world comes from our commitment to the rule of law and keeping our word. We rightly condemn China when it rides roughshod over the treaties dictating the future of Hong Kong. We say it signed them in good faith, that it is going back on its word and that it cannot be trusted. And his defence? “Don’t worry; I can’t be trusted either.” What will China say to us from now on? What will it throw back at us—that we, too, do not keep to international law?

Andrea Jenkyns Portrait Andrea Jenkyns - Hansard

Does the Labour party keep its word to the British voters?

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard

Actually, yes we do, and I will tell the hon. Lady why. We respect the fact that the Conservative party, under this Prime Minister, won the election. He got his mandate to deliver his Brexit deal: the thing that he said was—I am sure she recalls this because it was probably on her leaflets—“oven ready”. It is not me who is coming along and saying it is half-baked; it is him. He is saying, “The deal that I signed and agreed is actually—what’s the word? Ambiguous. Problematic.” I will get to this later in my speech, but I wonder whether he actually read the deal in the first place.

Ms Angela Eagle Portrait Ms Angela Eagle (Wallasey) (Lab) - Hansard

My right hon. Friend is making an extremely good speech. Would he perhaps tell the House who on earth might have signed this terrible deal with so many ambiguities less than nine months ago?

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, 12:04 a.m.

My hon. Friend makes an important point; I do believe it was the Prime Minister who signed the deal.

In fairness to the Prime Minister, I want to deal with each of the arguments that the Government have made in the last few days for this action. It is quite hard to keep count of the different arguments—you know you are losing the argument when you keep making lots of different arguments—but I want to give the House the top five. First, let us deal with the argument about blockades, which made its first outing in The Telegraph on Saturday through the Prime Minister, and obviously it made a big appearance today.

I have to say, I did not like the ramping up of the rhetoric from the European Union on Thursday, following the Prime Minister’s publication of this Bill, but even by the standards of the Prime Minister, this is as ridiculous an argument as I have ever heard. Let me let me explain to him why—the point was very well made by the former Attorney General this morning. This is what article 16 of the protocol says:

“If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures.”

In other words, let us just say that this threat somehow materialised—and by the way, I believe that Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs officials would have to implement it, making it even more absurd that it would happen. If the threat materialised, it is not overturning the protocol that is the right thing to do; it is upholding the protocol, as article 16 says. But do not take my word for it, Madam Deputy Speaker; take the word of the former Attorney General—who definitely read the protocol—who wrote this morning:

“There are clear and lawful responses available to Her Majesty’s government”.

As if that was not enough, there is also an irony here—the Prime Minister tried to slip this in; I do not know whether the House noticed—which is that this Bill does precisely nothing to address the issue of the transport of food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. It is about two issues where the Government are going to override international law: exit declarations, Northern Ireland to GB, and the definition of state aid relating to Northern Ireland. If the Prime Minister wants to tell us that there is another part of the Bill that I have not noticed that will deal with this supposed threat of blockade, I will very happily give way to him. I am sure he has read it; I am sure he knows it in detail, because he is a details man. Come on, tell us: what clause protects against the threat, which he says he is worried about, to GB-to-Northern Ireland exports? I give way to him. [Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing) - Hansard

Order. The right hon. Gentleman cannot give way unless he is asked to.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, 12:03 a.m.

There you have it: he didn’t read the protocol, he hasn’t read the Bill, he doesn’t know his stuff.

Let us deal with the second bogus argument. The Prime Minister claimed on Wednesday that it was necessary to protect the Good Friday agreement. The first outing for that argument was on Wednesday, at Prime Minister’s questions. I have to say to him, I would rather trust the authors of the Good Friday agreement than the Prime Minister, who has prominent members of the Government who opposed the agreement at the time. However, this is what John Major and Tony Blair wrote—[Interruption.] They don’t like John Major. They said that the Bill

“puts the Good Friday agreement at risk”—

[Interruption]—this is very serious—

“because it negates the predictability, political stability and legal clarity that are integral to the delicate balance between the north and south of Ireland that is at the core of the peace process.”

These are very important words from two former Prime Ministers, both of whom helped to win us peace in Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister may not want to believe them, but he will, I hope, believe himself—[Laughter]—maybe not—because this is what he said about the Northern Ireland protocol:

“there are particular circumstances in Northern Ireland at the border that deserve particular respect and sensitivity, and that is what they have received in the deal.”

It is

“a great deal for Northern Ireland.”—[Official Report, 19 October 2019; Vol. 666, c. 578-579.]

I do not understand this. He signed the deal. It is his deal. It is the deal that he said would protect the people of Northern Ireland. I have to say to him, this is not just legislative hooliganism on any issue; it is on one of the most sensitive issues of all. I think we should take the word of two former Prime Ministers of this country who helped to secure peace in Northern Ireland.

Sammy Wilson Portrait Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP) - Hansard

Before the shadow spokesman lectures the Prime Minister about reading documentation or starts lecturing us about the Good Friday agreement, does he not recognise, first of all, that the Good Friday agreement talks about the principle of consent to change the constitutional position of Northern Ireland, which is what this protocol does? The Good Friday agreement has within it a mechanism to safeguard the minorities in Northern Ireland through a cross-community vote, which again the protocol removed. So before he starts talking about the threats to the Good Friday agreement, does he not recognise that the protocol was a threat to it in the first place?

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, 5:15 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman did not like the protocol at all. He would rather have not had the protocol. He and I just have a disagreement on this issue. I believe it was necessary to make special arrangements for Northern Ireland, or for the UK to be in the EU customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland. That is why the Prime Minister came along and said the protocol was the right thing to do.

Let me deal with the third excuse we heard. This is the “It was all a bit of a rush” excuse. As the Prime Minister said in his article, times were “torrid” and there were “serious misunderstandings”. He tries to pretend that this is some new issue, but they have been warned for months about the way the protocol would work. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is sitting in his place, was warned at the Select Committee in March and was asked about these issues. The Business Secretary was written to by the House of Lords Committee in April.

Let us just get this straight for a minute, because I think it is important to take a step back. The Prime Minister is coming to the House to tell us today that his flagship achievement—the deal he told us was a triumph, the deal he said was oven-ready, the deal on which he fought and won the general election—is now contradictory and ambiguous. What incompetence. What failure of governance. How dare he try to blame everyone else? I say to the Prime Minister that this time he cannot blame the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), he cannot blame John Major, he cannot blame the judges, he cannot blame the civil servants, he cannot sack the Cabinet Secretary again. There is only one person responsible for it and that is him. This is his deal. It is his mess. It is his failure. For the first time in his life, it is time to take responsibility. It is time to ’fess up: either he was not straight with the country about the deal in the first place, or he did not understand it.

A competent Government would never have entered into a binding agreement with provisions they could not live with. If such a Government somehow missed the point but woke up later, they would do what any competent business would do after it realised it could not live with the terms of a contract: they would negotiate a way out in good faith. That is why this is all so unnecessary. There is a mechanism designed for exactly this purpose in the agreement: the Joint Committee on the Northern Ireland protocol. What did the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster say on 11 March at the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union? He will recall that he was asked about state aid. He said:

“the effective working of the protocol is a matter for the Joint Committee to resolve.”

The remaining issues to which the Bill speaks are not insignificant, but nor are they insurmountable, and that is the right way to pursue them, not an attempt at illegality.

Let me come back to the excuses. Fourthly, on Sunday, there was the Justice Secretary’s “the fire alarm” defence: “We don’t want to have to do this, but we might have to.” I want to be clear with the House about something very, very important about a decision to pass the Bill. I have great respect for the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), but I want to make this point. The very act of passing the Bill is itself a breach of international law. It would be wrong for hon. and right hon. Members on either side of the House to be under any illusions about that as they decide which Lobby to go into tonight. If we pass the Bill, even if there is a nod and a wink from the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, we equip the Government with the power to break the law. That in itself is a breach of the Northern Ireland protocol and therefore a breach of international law.

Sir Robert Neill Portrait Sir Robert Neill - Hansard
14 Sep 2020, 5:19 p.m.

I have listened carefully to the right hon. Member’s formulation and I understand much of what he says. However, an Act passed by this House only becomes law when it comes into force. He will be right, I submit, to say that as soon as any of these provisions came into force we would potentially breach international law. That is not quite the same thing, as I think he would fairly concede.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband - Hansard

That is not a risk we are going to take.

So the fire alarm defence simply does not work. The last defence was floated as a trial balloon, one might say, by the Northern Ireland Secretary last Tuesday, I believe. He said it was a breach of the law in a “specific and limited way.” That really is a new way of thinking about legal questions. It now turns out that breaking the law specifically and in a limited way is a reasonable defence for this Government. We have all heard of self-defence, the alibi defence, the innocence defence; now we have the Johnson defence: you can break the law, but in a specific and limited way.

Think about the grave context we face. The Home Secretary is in today’s newspapers warning everyone, “You must abide by the law.” On this, she is absolutely right. She says,

“I know that, as part of our national effort, the law-abiding majority will stick to these new rules. But there will be a small minority who do not”.

You couldn’t make it up. What she does not say in the article, but what we now know about this Government, is that the Johnson defence means something very specific: there is one rule for the British public and another rule for this Government. Pioneered by Cummings, implemented by Johnson—that is the Johnson rule.

This is the wrong thing to do. It is not necessary and it is deeply damaging to this country. Let us think about the impact on our country in the negotiations. The Government’s hope is that it will make a deal more likely, but that relies on the notion that reneging on a deal we made less than a year ago with the party we are negotiating with now will make that party more likely to trust us, not less. Think about our everyday lives: suppose we made an agreement with someone a year ago and we were seeking to have another negotiation with them; if we had unilaterally reneged on the first deal we made, would it make them more likely to trust us, or less likely? Obviously, it would make them less likely to trust us.

We know the risks. I very much hope the Prime Minister gets a deal. As a country, we absolutely need a deal. We know the risks of no deal if this strategy goes wrong. The Prime Minister said last week that no deal is somehow “a good outcome”. He is wrong. I hear all the time from businesses—I am sure the Business Secretary, who is in his place, does too—that are deeply worried about the danger of no deal. I know what the Prime Minister thinks about the views of business, thanks to his four-letter rant, but this is what businesses have to say. Nissan says there could be no guarantee about its Sunderland plant if there were tariffs on UK to EU trade. Ford says that no deal would be disastrous. The NFU says it would be catastrophic for British farming—indeed, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, when he was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the same thing. We are in the biggest economic crisis for 300 years, the biggest public health crisis for 100 years. No deal is not some game; it is about the livelihoods of millions of people across our country.

What about the prized trade deal with the United States? I know the Prime Minister thinks he has a friend in President Trump, but even he must recognise the necessity of being able to deal with both sides. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said:

“The UK must respect the Northern Ireland Protocol as signed with the EU… If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.”

This is the signal that we—the country known for the rule of law, the country that abides by the law, the country that founded international law—are sending to our friends and allies around the world. That is why we cannot support the Bill.

The Government must go back, remove the provisions breaking international law and ensure that the Bill works in a way that respects the devolution settlements. That is what a responsible, competent and law-abiding Government would do. This is a pivotal moment to determine the future of our country—who we are and how we operate. In shaping that future, we have to stand up for the traditions that matter: our commitment to the rule of law. The Bill speaks of a Government and a Prime Minister who are casual, not to say cavalier and reckless, about the gravity of the issues confronting them. The Prime Minister should be focusing on securing a Brexit deal, not breaking international law and risking no deal. He is cavalier on international law and cavalier on our traditions. This is not the serious leadership we need, and it is why we will oppose the Bill tonight.

Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Eleanor Laing) - Hansard

Before I call the Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, I should draw to the attention of the House that 100 Members are hoping to catch my eye from the Back Benches. It will not be possible to call everyone, but in order to allow as many people as possible to participate in such an important debate, we will have a time limit of four minutes with immediate effect. I call Sir William Cash.

Transport Infrastructure

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Tuesday 11th February 2020

(7 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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The Prime Minister - Hansard

That is a brilliant idea. Let us try that one out on the Mayor of London.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Hansard
11 Feb 2020, 1:08 p.m.

May I ask the Prime Minister about the prospects for change in relation to the eastern leg of phase 2b? The original HS2 vision was to serve and regenerate our towns, but towns in South Yorkshire are facing all of the pain and none, or very little, of the gain. May I commend to him the HS2 North concept, which local campaigners came up with—they got there first—and which has an integrated plan to help towns such as Doncaster and Mexborough?

The Prime Minister - Hansard
11 Feb 2020, 1:08 p.m.

The right hon. Member makes a very good point on behalf of Doncaster. We are certainly looking at the plan that he mentions.

European Council

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Monday 25th March 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Mar 2019, 4:57 p.m.

Yes.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Mar 2019, 4:59 p.m.

I think I might surprise the Prime Minister by saying that there is something I welcome in her statement. She said in her statement that

“unless this House agrees to it, no deal will not happen.”

So can she confirm that if this House continues, as it has so far, to vote against no deal, she will not seek to take us out of the European Union on 12 April without a deal?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
25 Mar 2019, 4:58 p.m.

I say to the right hon. Gentleman that if we are not going to leave the European Union without a deal, we clearly need to have a deal that enables us to leave the European Union. It is very simple. I have made the point on a number of occasions and I will continue to make it.

Oral Answers to Questions

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Wednesday 20th March 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Mar 2019, 12:42 p.m.

What I have done today in writing to President Tusk is ask for that extension to article 50 until the end of June. I have been clear that, as I have said, I do not believe that Brexit should be delayed beyond that point. That would give us the opportunity to ensure that the House can consider again a deal, and then take forward the withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill in the circumstances that a deal was passed. In the circumstances that a deal was not passed, then it would obviously be necessary, as I have just said to my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), for the House to consider how we should proceed. I would also say to my hon. Friend that, as he will have heard the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs saying in the debate on no deal last week, there are particular issues, particularly in relation to the governance of Northern Ireland, in relation to leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 March. I continue to hope and continue to believe that the best way for this country to leave the European Union is to do so on the basis of a negotiated deal, and the extension to 30 June would allow us to do that.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Mar 2019, 12:43 p.m.

Further to the question from the Father of the House, does the Prime Minister not realise that in her answer she is the roadblock to this House reaching a majority, not the facilitator of it? It is blindingly obvious—including, I believe, to members of the Cabinet—that what the House now needs to do is to have a series of indicative votes, precisely so that it can express its will about what it is for, not simply what it is against. Why does not the Prime Minister agree to that? She would be doing a service to the country if she did.

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Mar 2019, 12:43 p.m.

Obviously, I have made it clear that we will bring forward the motion that is required under the legislation, under section 13(4). May I gently say to the right hon. Gentleman, as I did to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), that it is not the case that it has not been possible for this House to bring forward votes of the sort that the right hon. Gentleman is talking about? It has been open to this House. In some cases, the House has brought forward such votes and those have been rejected.

Leaving the EU

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Tuesday 12th February 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 1:21 p.m.

There will be a number of statutory instruments that the House will be addressing. The House will be working hard on Brexit arrangements next week. On the issue of tariffs in the event of no deal, discussions are still being undertaken with businesses and other sectors.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 1:19 p.m.

Further to the question from my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), can the Prime Minister now give millions of people and businesses across the country a simple answer to this straight question: if she is faced with a choice of leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 March or seeking an extension of article 50, what will she do? We deserve to know the answer to that question.

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Feb 2019, 1:21 p.m.

What I am doing is working to ensure that we can bring a deal back to the House. It will then be for the right hon. Gentleman and other Members of the House to determine whether they want to support a deal with the European Union.

Leaving the EU

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Monday 21st January 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jan 2019, 4:08 p.m.

I recognise the passion with which my right hon. Friend is campaigning on this particular issue, but she is assuming that it is not possible to reach an agreement that will secure the support of the House. The purpose of what we are doing at the moment in talking with parties and Back Benchers across this House is to find those issues—I have indicated issues in my statement—on which we can move and on which we can then find that support across the House. I believe it is right for us to continue to work for a deal to leave the European Union on 29 March, and for us to do so with a deal that has secured the support of this House.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
21 Jan 2019, 4:08 p.m.

As a litmus test of the Prime Minister’s flexibility, may I ask whether, if the House voted for membership of a customs union, for example, she would implement that decision?

The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard

Of course, the point about what we are doing in terms of this process is identifying those issues on which there is agreement across the House and on which the support of the House can be secured, and dealing with that with the European Union, but while also being faithful to the vote that was cast in the referendum. I believe that when we look at this issue, everybody should not only say, “Should we be leaving the European Union?”, but recognise the reasons that lay behind the vote to leave the European Union and deliver on them.

Leaving the EU

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Monday 14th January 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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The Prime Minister - Hansard
14 Jan 2019, 4:51 p.m.

I did indeed confirm that our intent and what the Government are working for is to leave the European Union on 29 March. There are those who may try to find ways to prevent that from happening—I think that is a real risk—but the Government are firm in their commitment in relation to leaving the European Union.

On the issue that my hon. Friend has raised on the withdrawal Act, we have passed the withdrawal Act through this House—through this Parliament—and it does repeal the European Communities Act 1972. Of course, for the period of the implementation period, it would be necessary within the WAB—the withdrawal Bill—as my hon. Friend knows, to ensure that we are still able to maintain the rules that we need to operate by in order to abide by the negotiated agreement on the implementation period, but I can assure him that it remains the commitment of this Government to leave the European Union on 29 March.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jan 2019, 4:52 p.m.

I know the Prime Minister is totally sincere in her sense of duty to this country and in her belief in her deal, but I want to turn her attention to something she does not want to contemplate, which is defeat tomorrow night. I say to her in the strongest terms that the tone and substance she strikes in the wake of that eventuality will define her legacy to this country. I want to urge her not to succumb to the absurd argument that this is a war between this House and the Government, when this Government are a servant of this House. I want to urge her also, if she loses tomorrow night, to give this House an open and honest process where it can express its view, and she and the Government then become the servant of this House in the negotiations.

The Prime Minister - Hansard
14 Jan 2019, 4:53 p.m.

The Government are the servant of the people: we are ensuring that we are delivering what the people want in relation to Brexit. We have negotiated what I believe genuinely is a good deal for the United Kingdom, and that is why I will continue to encourage Members of this House to support it.

Brexit Negotiations

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Monday 11th December 2017

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Dec 2017, 4:32 p.m.

As I said earlier, the offer in the progress report is there, as the report itself makes very clear, on the basis that we will be making an agreement with the European Union on our trading relationship, and on our relationship in other areas, such as security.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
11 Dec 2017, 4:32 p.m.

In her reply to the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh), the Prime Minister seemed to confirm that she believes that we will have full regulatory autonomy after we leave the European Union. Will she explain how that is compatible with regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and no hard border?

The Prime Minister - Hansard
11 Dec 2017, 4:33 p.m.

The point I made in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) was that decisions about the future rules and regulations on which this country operates will be made by this Parliament. We have said very clearly that we will avoid, and guarantee that we will not have, a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. In any trade agreement, a decision will be taken as to those rules and regulations on which we wish to operate on the same basis, those areas where we have the same objectives but will operate on a different basis, and those areas that are irrelevant to the issue of the trade agreement.

UK Plans for Leaving the EU

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Monday 9th October 2017

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Hansard
9 Oct 2017, 5:04 p.m.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right, and we see increasing interest in moving on to talk about that issue. That will absolutely be, as he says, not just in our interests but in the interests of the European Union; that is what is right for us both. We want the matter to be negotiated by March 2019, so that the UK comes out of the European Union knowing what the new partnership and trade agreement will be.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Oct 2017, 5:04 p.m.

The Prime Minister has said very clearly she believes that, on her plans, we will be out of the customs union and the single market by March 2019. That was not the impression I got from the Florence speech. Will she therefore explain how the arrangements she is seeking for the transition differ from being a member of the single market and the customs union for the period of the transition?

The Prime Minister - Hansard
9 Oct 2017, 5:05 p.m.

I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that, as we leave the European Union in March 2019, we will leave full membership of the customs union and full membership of the single market. What we then want is a period of time when practical changes can be made, as we move towards the end state—the trade agreement—that we will have agreed with the European Union. We have to negotiate for the implementation period what the arrangements would be. We have suggested that that should be a new agreement—an agreement that we should be able to operate on the same basis and on the same rules and regulations.

Debate on the Address

Edward Miliband Excerpts
Wednesday 21st June 2017

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
The Prime Minister - Hansard

I note the point that the hon. Gentleman has made about contaminated blood and I will speak to the Secretary of State for Health. I think this has already been looked at, and other ways of dealing with this issue have already been introduced and addressed.

Edward Miliband Portrait Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab) - Hansard

Will the Prime Minister give way?

The Prime Minister - Hansard
21 Jun 2017, 4:18 p.m.

No. Mr Speaker, we are building opportunity and aspiration. We will also deliver a more secure United Kingdom because of the choices that we are making to prioritise our defence and national security. Our armed forces Bill will give those who put their lives on the line in the service of our country the proper respect that they deserve, with more security in the way they live and work. Our commitment to renew Trident means that this country maintains its continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent as the ultimate guarantee of our safety, and with a Prime Minister who is prepared to use it. We will continue to play a leading role in international efforts to tackle mass migration and climate change, to alleviate poverty and to end modern slavery. We have always looked beyond Europe to the wider world and we will continue to do so.

In conclusion, this has been a difficult time for our country. I know that there are many parents who worry about the kind of world that their children are growing up in. I recognise that and understand it. It has been an unsettling time that has tested the spirit of our country, but we are a resilient country. Our response to disaster and acts of terror that take the lives of innocent people must be this: compassion, unity, resolve. We are a great nation and a great people. We have been through and survived the toughest of times before, and we thrived. Once again we can and will grow stronger from the challenges that we face today.

The Queen’s Speech on its own will not solve every challenge that our country faces—not every problem can be solved by an Act of Parliament—but it is a step forward to building a more compassionate, united and confident nation. That is what this Government will aim to achieve and what this Queen’s Speech will deliver. I commend the Queen’s Speech to the House.