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No-deal Preparation

Volume 653: debated on Thursday 24 January 2019

15. What recent steps the Government have taken to prepare for the UK leaving the EU without a deal. (908763)

The Government’s focus continues to be on leaving the EU with a deal. However, with just nine weeks until we leave, the Government are responsibly preparing for the alternative.

What impact does my hon. Friend believe that terminating no-deal preparations now would have on the Prime Minister’s ongoing negotiations with the EU?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question—and as someone who worked for me as my parliamentary researcher for five years, I thank him for no sight whatsoever of his supplementary question.

He is much better; that is absolutely true.

Anybody who has been involved in any type of negotiation—perhaps a union representative trying to negotiate a better deal on employee rights or salaries, or just anyone involved in any sort of deal—knows that they need to have the ultimate option on the table at any given time. Reducing any options basically means that you have less room to negotiate—it would be a foolish thing to do.

The best that the Government seem to be able to say about their deal is that it is very slightly less worse than no deal. That is the metaphorical gun that they are putting against our head, and I would appreciate it if they could give us a decent answer as to why they have nothing better than that.

The hon. Lady knows that I have a huge amount of respect for her, but the premise behind her question is so wrong that it is hard to believe. A whole host of employers in her constituency will doubtless have beaten a path to her door to ask her to vote for the certainty and continuity that the Government’s deal delivers. If they have not done so, I would be very surprised, because they are doing it nationally.