As I said on Saturday, I will not vote in favour of the bill, mainly because of the political declaration – I have no problem with the withdrawal agreement – which is not the right…
As I said on Saturday, I will not vote in favour of the bill, mainly because of the political declaration – I have no problem with the withdrawal agreement – which is not the right approach because it is not good for the economy. I am very surprised, as are other members, that the government has just happily said, “We are not going to do an economic evaluation,” and I guess the reason is simple. They`ve already done one that has shown that a free trade agreement is the second worst outcome for the economy after a no deal, and they don`t really want to have to point that out again. I am extremely concerned that the Labour Party, the good gentleman and his colleagues fear that the Prime Minister`s new Brexit deal will somehow undermine the Good Friday Agreement and its achievements. Could he take a moment to explain his concerns? I think that`s really important. Do the right thing. Sir, do you not understand that unionists believe that our sovereignty has been abolished by this agreement and that it is very different from a unionist in Northern Ireland to be unionist in the rest of the United Kingdom, including in the constituency of the good gentleman? Does he not feel that the unionists were deceived and deceived when this agreement was presented? That is exactly the assurance I can give. That is exactly what this bill does, and that is what this agreement has guaranteed. The truth is that what the Prime Minister and the ERG want from the free trade agreement and their vision of the United Kingdom as a tax-efficient, small, deregulated country will not improve the quality of my constituents` jobs and livelihoods, nor will it give them more clout and control. This will ensure a race to the bottom. It won`t put more money into housing, schools or the NHS. It will jeopardize the economic growth on which our public services depend.
The Honourable. Gentleman is right to draw attention to the EU`s free trade agreements. We probably have the best in the world. All the free trade agreements that the United Kingdom has, say with the United States, will only be about one fortieth of what we will lose with the European Union. Overall, a free trade agreement with any country in the world will only account for about 1.4% of GDP out of the 6% to 8% we lose with the European Union – a huge loss. I am grateful to the honourable Member for that, and I have come to the question as the next point, because the other major implications of this legislation concern Northern Ireland. Of course, there is a blocking mechanism, and I listened to my friend on the right, the Prime Minister, who said that if there was a double majority – of both communities – to abolish it in four years, although this means that Northern Ireland is bound for four years by agreements that the government considers undesirable for the rest of the United Kingdom. What has been overlooked, however, is that Article 13.8 of the Northern Ireland Protocol makes it clear that any future agreement thereafter will be a matter of negotiation. For example, the suggestion that we could get a free trade agreement that is satisfactory to ourselves and then insist that Northern Ireland be included in it is simply false. After the entry into force of the WAB, the Withdrawal Agreement must also be ratified by the European Parliament. Parliament is aware that the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister reminding him that the British Government is required to obtain the legislative consent of both legislators for this bill. The Prime Minister must specify that the consent of the decentralized institutions will be obtained and that the will of the decentralized institutions will be respected.