Seema Malhotra MP spoke in Parliament on the Brexit debate on the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the 14th January 2019 ahead of the meaningful vote. See the full text and clip of her speech below:
“I am grateful for this opportunity to speak in today’s debate, because the prosperity of our country, our regions and our nations is at stake. I will be voting against the Prime Minister’s deal tomorrow for two main reasons. First, on the Government’s own analysis, it will make every region and nation of this country poorer, and that is not what people voted for. It is set to give less opportunity to our young people than we grew up with.
The economic assessment of the Prime Minister’s draft agreement with Brussels estimated that the British economy would shrink by 3.9%, which is equivalent to the loss of £100 billion by 2030. Trade barriers could equal 10% of the value of trade in services, meaning that the economy’s biggest sector would suffer to the tune of more than £44 billion a year.
Secondly, it is a blind Brexit. We have no idea what the future will look like. No one leaves their home on the promise of a great new home with no guarantees about where it is, what it looks like, how many rooms it has or what condition it is in. However, that is what the Prime Minister is asking us to do, like an estate agent who then scarpers, leaving us standing with our suitcases. The political declaration gives no certainty or clarity about the direction of our future relationship with the European Union, and it is a gamble that I will not take.
Hundreds of residents – young and old alike – and businesses in my constituency have contacted me over the past few weeks and months. Businesses report stockpiling and concern for the future – perhaps not the immediate future, but the medium and longer term – and they should be planning production, not employee leave during April, May and June while they work out what the future looks like. Some 60% of those who have contacted me back a people’s vote, and a further 20% back remain in some form. Only 10% say that we should vote for the deal or leave with no deal. All too often I find myself scratching my head in disbelief at where we are and at the Government’s kamikaze attitude towards no deal.
For generations, we have had an assumption of progress – a promise as a nation about what the next generation should have and that they should do better than the last – but we find ourselves now breaking that promise. The Government are set to take our nation’s prosperity backwards while turning to the country and saying, “This is what you voted for.” Contrary to the “sunlit uplands” of the most eloquent speech of the hon. Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg), under the deregulated, free-market future that many hard Brexiteers will look to, we know that the rich will get richer and the poor will see less and less of the wealth of their nation.
We cannot take progress for granted. It is something that we in politics have a duty to fight for and to protect. However, time is running out and we have choices to make. It would be my preference to remain and reform, and I would support a second referendum between remain and a deal as agreed by this House. If we are to leave, we should do so in a way that delivers on the referendum, but with the least damaging economic impact, such as a single-market and customs-union solution – a common market 2.0 – as a base from which to build our future relationship.”