All 1 Lindsay Hoyle contributions to the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020

Read Bill Ministerial Extracts

Wed 30th Dec 2020
European Union (Future Relationship) Bill
Commons Chamber

2nd reading & 2nd reading & 2nd reading: House of Commons & 2nd reading

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Cabinet Office

European Union (Future Relationship) Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
2nd reading & 2nd reading: House of Commons
Wednesday 30th December 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Committee of the whole House Amendments as at 30 December 2020 - (30 Dec 2020)
Second Reading
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Given the length of the Second Reading call list, Members will understand that there will be no time left before 2.30 pm to debate the Bill in Committee. Nevertheless, I should inform Members that under the order of the House of today, notices of amendments, new clauses and new schedules to be moved in Committee of the whole House may be accepted until 10.30 am. To maintain social distancing, Members are asked not to bring amendments to the Table in the Chamber but to send them by email to the Public Bill Office. The Public Bill Office will aim to circulate early this afternoon a notice paper of the amendments received by 10.30 am.

I inform the House that I have not selected any of the reasoned amendments.

--- Later in debate ---
Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your clarification. I am just wondering how on earth the Prime Minister can talk about taking back control of waters when Scottish fishermen are going to have less access and less fish to catch as a consequence of his con deal.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

May I just say, first of all, that that is not a point of order? We are very limited on time. Can we please try to keep to a tight agenda to allow everybody the time to contribute?

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Although that was not a valid point of order, I must none the less correct the right hon. Gentleman. In fact, under this deal we have taken back control of our borders. Indeed, Scottish fishermen from the get-go will have access to bigger quotas of all the relevant stocks. From the end of the transition period, as he knows full well—

--- Later in debate ---
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Order. I understand that this is an important day and it is important that we all get on the record. It is also important that I get to the leader of the SNP. What I would not like to do is run out of time because of the number of times he stands for interventions. If the Prime Minister gives way, he will give way straight away, but please let us try to get the debate under way. At least give yourself time to hear what the Prime Minister has to say before you disagree.

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I feel I must correct him. Not only will we take back control of our waters, we will increase Scottish fishermen’s share of all the relevant stocks: cod, for instance, going up by 47% to 57%; North sea haddock going up by 70% to 84%. That is just next year, Mr Speaker. In five and a half years’ time, we take control of the entire spectacular marine wealth of Scotland. It is only the Scottish nationalist party that would, with spectacular hypocrisy, hand back control of the waters of this country to the UK.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Could you point out to the Prime Minister that the name of my party is the Scottish National party?

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

In fairness, I have pointed that out in the past. It is the Scottish National party.

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Mr Speaker, I wish the right hon. Gentleman to know that I am using the word “nationalist” with a small “n”. I do not think he would disagree with that, which is semantically justifiable under the circumstances. Yet in spite of that nomenclature, they would hand back control of Scotland’s waters and go back into the common fisheries policy. What the Bill does is take back control—

--- Later in debate ---
Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I feel that I have to point out to the House the historic principle in Scotland, as established by law, is that it is the people of Scotland who are sovereign, and it is the people of Scotland who will determine to take them back into the European Union with independence.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

As the leader of the SNP knows, that is not a point of order. I am desperate to hear what he has to say in his contribution. Rather than use it up now, why does he not save it so that others can get in? Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful, Mr Speaker. Of course, it was the people of Scotland who took the sovereign decision, quite rightly, to remain in the UK—a once-in-a-generation decision. I think it highly unlikely that the people of Scotland will take a decision to cast away their new-found freedoms and new-found opportunities, not least over the marine wealth of Scotland.

We will be able to design our own standards and regulations, and the laws that the House of Commons passes will be interpreted—I know that this is a keen interest of hon. and right hon. Members—solely by British judges sitting in British courts. We will have the opportunity to devise new ways to spur and encourage flourishing sectors in which this country leads the world, from green energy and life sciences to synthetic biology.

Greg Clark Portrait Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Some of us had different views on Brexit, but those debates are now for the history books. Everyone in the House and the country should recognise the benefits of an agreement that goes beyond free trade, from science to energy to security. However, will the Prime Minister capitalise on the excellent news that we have had today on the vaccine by pursuing an industrial strategy that puts science and technology at its heart, so that we can grasp the opportunities that come as the world bounces back from covid during the year ahead?

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Can I just help people and say that those who are high up on the speaking list will understandably get put down if they make continuous interventions? I want to get as many people in as possible, so please—

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Thank you, Sir Bernard. Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark). I remember well working with him on his industrial strategy and his ideas for championing green technology and biosciences, and I can tell him that those ideas remain at the heart of this Government’s agenda. We will certainly be using our new-found legislative freedom to drive progress in those sciences and those investments across the whole UK. We will be free of EU state aid rules; we will be able to decide where and how we level up across our country, with new jobs and new hope, including free ports and new green industrial zones of a kind I am sure my right hon. Friend would approve of.

I must make an important point. If, in using our new freedoms, either Britain or the EU believes it is somehow being unfairly undercut, then, subject to independent third-party arbitration, and provided the measures are proportionate, either of us can decide, as sovereign equals, to protect our consumers, but this treaty explicitly envisages that any such action should be infrequent.

--- Later in debate ---
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am going to make some progress because many Members want to speak. I have always said that Brexit is not an end but a beginning, and the responsibility now rests with all of us to make the best use of the powers that we have regained and the tools that we have taken back into our hands. We are going to begin by fulfilling our manifesto promise to maintain the highest standards of labour and environmental regulation, because no caricature can be more inaccurate than the idea of some bargain-basement Dickensian Britain, as if enlightened EU regulation has been our only salvation from Dickensian squalor. Our national standards have always been among the very best in the world, and this House can be trusted to use its new freedom to keep them that way without any outside invigilation.

We are going to open a new chapter in our national story, striking free trade deals around the world, adding to the agreements with 63 countries we have already achieved and reasserting global Britain as a liberal, outward-looking force for good. Detaching ourselves from the EU is only a prelude to the greater task of establishing our new role, and this country is contributing more than any other to vaccinate people across the world against covid, leading the way in preventing future pandemics. We will continue to campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl in the world, and I thank my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary for what he is doing on that. We will continue to lead the drive towards global net zero as we host COP26 in Glasgow next year.

I hope and believe—and I think, actually, the tone this morning has given me encouragement in this belief; the mood in the House this morning seems on the whole to be positive—[Interruption.] In spite of the as-usual synthetic and confected indignation that we hear from some on the Benches opposite, I hope and believe that this agreement will also serve to end some of the rancour and recrimination that we have had in recent years and allow us to come together as a country to leave old arguments—old, desiccated, tired, super-masticated arguments—behind, move on and build a new and great future for our country, because those of us who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU never sought a rupture with our closest neighbours. We never wanted to sever ourselves from our fellow democracies, beneath whose soil lie British war graves in tranquil cemeteries, often tended by local schoolchildren, testament to our shared struggle for freedom and everything we cherish in common. What we wanted was not a rupture but a resolution—a resolution of the old, tired, vexed question of Britain’s political relations with Europe, which has bedevilled our post-war history. First we stood aloof, then we became a half-hearted, sometimes obstructive member of the EU. Now, with this Bill, we are going to become a friendly neighbour—the best friend and ally the EU could have, working hand in glove whenever our values and interests coincide, while fulfilling the sovereign wish of the British people to live under their own laws, made by their own elected Parliament. That is the historic resolution delivered by this Bill. I commend it to the House.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Before I call the Leader of the Opposition, the House will want to be aware that I have accepted a request from the Government for an additional statement from the Secretary of State for Education on education return in January. This will be the second statement after the covid-19 update and before the business statement. The ballot is already open in Members’ Hub.

--- Later in debate ---
Boris Johnson Portrait The Prime Minister
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows perfectly well that this is a zero tariff, zero quota deal. He says that he would have negotiated a different and better deal. Perhaps he can tell us whether he would have remained within the customs union and within the single market. Perhaps he will also say a little bit about how he proposes to renegotiate the deal, build on it and take the UK back into the EU, because that remains his agenda.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Let us get on with the debate.

Keir Starmer Portrait Keir Starmer
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Typical deflection. The Prime Minister, at a press conference, told the British public that there will be

“no non-tariff barriers to trade”.

The answer he gave just now is not an answer to that point. It is not true, and the Prime Minister knows what he said was not true. He simply will not stand up and acknowledge it today. That speaks volumes about the sort of Prime Minister we have.

--- Later in debate ---
Keir Starmer Portrait Keir Starmer
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Prime Minister says vote against it—vote for no deal. As my wife says to our children, “If you haven’t got anything sensible to say, it’s probably better to say nothing.”

The situation sets out the fundamental dilemma that has always been at the heart of the negotiations. If we stick to the level playing field, there are no tariffs and quotas, but if we do not, British businesses, British workers and British consumers will bear the cost. The Prime Minister has not escaped that dilemma; he has negotiated a treaty that bakes it in. This poses the central question for future Governments and Parliaments: do we build up from this agreement to ensure that the UK has high standards and that our businesses are able to trade as freely as possible in the EU market with minimal disruption; or do we choose to lower standards and slash protections, and in that way put up more barriers for our businesses to trade with our nearest and most important partners?

For Labour, this is clear: we believe in high standards. We see this treaty as a basis to build from, and we want to retain a close economic relationship with the EU that protects jobs and rights, because that is where our national interest lies today and tomorrow. However, I fear that the Prime Minister will take the other route, because he has used up so much time and negotiating capital in doing so. He has put the right to step away from common standards at the heart of the negotiation, so I assume that he wants to make use of that right as soon as possible. If he does, he has to be honest with the British people about the costs and consequences of that choice for businesses, jobs and our economy. If he does not want to exercise that right, he has to explain why he wasted so much time and sacrificed so many priorities for a right that he is not going to exercise.

After four and a half years of debate and division, we finally have a trade deal with the EU. It is imperfect, it is thin and it is the consequence of the Prime Minister’s political choices, but we have only one day before the end of the transition period, and it is the only deal that we have. It is a basis to build on in the years to come. Ultimately, voting to implement the treaty is the only way to ensure that we avoid no deal, so we will vote for the Bill today.

But I do hope that this will be a moment when our country can come together and look to a better future. The UK has left the EU. The leave/remain argument is over—whichever side we were on, the divisions are over. We now have an opportunity to forge a new future: one outside the EU, but working closely with our great partners, friends and allies. We will always be European. We will always have shared values, experiences and history, and we can now also have a shared future. Today’s vote provides the basis for that.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

I am now introducing a four-minute limit for Back Benchers.

--- Later in debate ---
Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is a pleasure—[Interruption.]

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Order. If the hon. Member for Lincoln (Karl MᶜCartney) wants to remain up there in the Gallery, I am certainly not going to take interventions from there. I think it is better if he remains quiet.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is a pleasure to follow the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May). I wish you, Mr Speaker, all staff and Members a good new year when it comes tomorrow evening. May I quickly reflect on the sadness of the events that took place on 2 January 1971 in Glasgow, when 66 predominantly young people lost their lives in the Ibrox disaster, including five from one village in Fife, Markinch? I am sure that the whole House will want to remember those who sadly lost their lives at that moment.

When this bad Brexit deal was published, one of the very first public images that was released showed the Prime Minister raising his arms aloft in celebration. When I saw that image, my thoughts immediately turned to the European nationals who have made their home here. They are certainly not celebrating. During the four years and more of this Brexit mess, the main emotion they have felt is worry: worry about staying here, about their jobs and for their families. In Scotland, these citizens are our friends. They are our family. They are our neighbours. Before this Tory Government force through a deal that rips us out of the European Union, the single market and the customs union, let us get this message out to Scotland’s 234,000 EU citizens: Scotland is your home, you are welcome.

The value we place on European citizenship—that real sense of belonging to the European Union—cuts to the very core of this debate. Scotland is at heart a European nation. It always has been. Forcing our nation out of the EU means losing a precious part of who we are. Scotland did not become European when the United Kingdom joined the EEC 40 years ago. Our relationship with Europe predates the United Kingdom by some way. An independent Scotland has enjoyed centuries of engagement with European nations. Scottish merchants travelled, traded and settled on the continent. We shared citizenship with France and we appealed our nationhood to Rome. Scotland was European before it was British. That European history and heritage goes back to our nation’s place in the Hanseatic League in the 15th century. Scotland was central to a trading alliance that forged connections and commerce with the north Atlantic, the Netherlands, Germany Scandinavia and the Baltic. We were a European trading nation right up until many of our privileges were ended by the Treaty of Union. It was three centuries ago, and here we go again: with Westminster seeking to end our access to those European relationships by removing us from today’s union of nations across our continent; Westminster ending free movement of people and the access to labour that is so crucial to our economic success; and Westminster seeking to end our automatic right to live, work and get an education in 27 member states of the EU—rights that our generation had, which will be taken away from our children and grandchildren. And for what?

It was way back on 11 July 2016 that the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead, first spoke the infamous words, “Brexit means Brexit.” We all know what followed the use of that foolish phrase: nearly four years of constant chaos and confusion. Today, at least we have some clarity. We now finally know what Brexit means. We have it in black and white. It means the disaster of a deal. It means broken promises. It means economic vandalism. It means an isolated United Kingdom in the middle of a global pandemic. It means the worst of all worlds for Scotland.

This morning’s proceedings are so critical precisely because of that clarity, because with that clarity comes a choice, and it is a fundamental choice for Scotland. It is a choice between a future defined by this disaster of a deal or the future that the SNP is offering to the Scottish people: an independent nation at the heart of the European Union. Today, the contrast between the two futures is clearer than ever, and that choice will not go away.

--- Later in debate ---
Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful for this—

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

Order. Sir Iain, you are very early on the call list, and I am sure that you do not want to go down the list.

Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Thank you, Mr Speaker. We will accept your guidance on these things, although I was looking forward to the debate that we were having.

Now that we see the scale of the bad Brexit deal, the question before the Scottish people is clear: which Union does Scotland wish to be part of? Which future will we choose: this broken Brexit Britain or the European Union? If this whole Brexit saga was truly about sovereignty, the Scottish people cannot and will not be denied our sovereign right to that self-determination. No democrat and nobody in this House should stand in the way of that—even boris with a small b. The Tory denial of democracy is a position that cannot and will not hold. Scotland will have the right to choose its own future.

Now that the detail of this deal is finally in front of us, people hope that Brexit fictions are swiftly replaced with Brexit facts. Judging by the Prime Minister’s performance today, his Government are still drowning in delusion or simply just putting on an act, but for those of us who have lived in the real world these past four years, it is long past time that reality finally bursts the Brexit bubble. In recent days we have heard wild celebrations and claims from leading Brexit cheerleaders that this is the largest free trade deal in history. I am sorry to inform them that it is not. The biggest and best free trading bloc in the world is the one that this Tory Government are dragging Scotland out of. It is made up of 27 nations and 500 million citizens. It is called the European Union.

In the middle of a pandemic and economic recession, Scotland has been removed from a market worth £16 billion in exports to Scottish companies and a market which, by population, is seven times the size of the United Kingdom. Leaving the European single market and customs union would be damaging at any time, but in the middle of the current crisis, Prime Minister, it is unforgivable. It is an act of economic vandalism, pure and simple.

As usual with the Tories, it is people who will pay the price. Initial Scottish Government modelling estimates that the deal could cut Scotland’s GDP by around 6.1%—that is £9 billion in 2016 cash terms by 2030. That will leave people in Scotland—the same people who have always opposed Brexit—£1,600 poorer. That is the cost of the Prime Minister’s Brexit.

--- Later in debate ---
Ian Blackford Portrait Ian Blackford
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Gentleman. May I reciprocate and say that I love England and its people? I want us to maximise our opportunity, but this deal limits our opportunity. I want to unleash Scotland’s potential. That potential will be unleashed with an independent Scotland at the heart of Europe.

The Prime Minister’s broken promise on Erasmus has been such a totemic issue in the last few days. He will remember standing in this House and promising us that we will stay in the Erasmus programme. That betrayal denies our young people the opportunities that European citizenship has given us. It denies them the European freedoms that we cherish—living, working and studying abroad. Around 200,000 people have taken part in Erasmus, including around 15,000 UK university students each year. It is also important to say that Erasmus is not solely about university students but about supporting youth workers, adult education, sport, culture and vocational training. That is why the Scottish Government are so committed to exploring every opportunity to keep Erasmus in place for our people.

Even the very name Erasmus signals our long-established European links. That long tradition of connection comes right into the modern day with our own Winnie Ewing, Madame Écosse herself. Winnie, a former mother of the European Parliament, was Chair of the EU Education Committee that brought in the Erasmus scheme. [Interruption.] People at home will be watching this, and we have the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster laughing about the success of the Erasmus scheme. Utterly, utterly, utterly pathetic—utterly pathetic.

All that history between Europe and Scotland, all those links and all these opportunities are now at stake. Scotland’s story is European, and that story does not end today. Our past is European, and our future must be European. As a nation, that is a choice that we made in 2016, and I am confident that it is a choice we make now. We cannot support this legislation because it does not respect that choice and it does not provide for our future. Scotland’s course is now set, and it is a very different course from the decisions being taken in the Westminster Parliament. We know that the only way to regain the huge benefits of EU membership is to become an independent state at the heart of Europe once more. That is the decision that the Scottish people will make. We begin that journey today. There is now an empty seat at the top table in Europe. It will not be empty for long.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - -

We now come to the Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley.