Wigan MP backs bill to prevent no-deal Brexit next month

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has backed the bill passing through parliament seeking to prevent Britain leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal at the end of next month.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 9:17 am
The result of a vote on the bill is read to a packed House of Commons

Ms Nandy spoke in the House of Commons in favour of the legislation put forward by fellow Labour MP Hilary Benn, which passed its third reading on Wednesday.

She said MPs needed to realise how possible a no-deal Brexit actually was and serious conversations needed to be had with those in favour about the potential impact of it.

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She said: "This matters, we have finally in this House after years of saying that no deal was a hoax, that it was a bluff, that it wouldn't happen, we've woken up to the reality of it.

"Now we have to make sure it doesn't happen and we have to go out and we have to win this argument with the public."

Introducing the EU Withdrawal (No. 6) Bill, which seeks to stop a no-deal Brexit in October, Mr Benn said the matter was extremely urgent due to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's stated aim to suspend, or prorogue, parliament for five weeks.

He said: "The purpose of the Bill is very simple. It is to ensure that the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union on October 31 without an agreement.

He said the Bill has "wide cross-party support", including from former senior Cabinet members.

Mr Benn added: "You could describe it as a somewhat unlikely alliance, but what unites us is a conviction that there is no mandate for no-deal, and that the consequences for the economy and for our country would be highly damaging.

"The Prime Minister's made it absolutely clear that he is prepared to leave on October 31 without a deal, and those of us who I hope will support the Bill today do not wish that to happen.

"We cannot continue to delay taking a decision... the Bill is deliberately open as to the purpose of the extension so it provides a framework for reporting and debate and it is supported as I've just pointed out by (MPs) who have already voted for a deal and would vote for one again.

"And I would just say it's very important that we focus on the principal purpose which is to prevent a no-deal Brexit and to keep the coalition that shares that view together."

The House of Lords agreed in the early hours of Thursday morning to push through the bill so it would be back in the House of Commons by 5pm on Friday.

Local MPs were asked this week for their views on the extraordinary events in parliament this week, with unsurprisingly very different views in evidence on both sides of the House.

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue said: "I have been clear that I oppose no deal. No deal would cause enormous harm to jobs, living standards, our NHS, security and put peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland at risk. No deal would open the way for the Tories to sell off our public services, deregulate the economy and slash workers’ rights and protections.

“We need a withdrawal agreement on the table so that we can leave the EU in an orderly way – Boris Johnson is acting in a cavalier and dangerous manner. This Bill is not about blocking Brexit but is about preventing a damaging no deal. There is no mandate for that, and Labour has always been clear – including in our manifesto – that we would do everything possible to stop no deal.”

But Conservative MP for Bolton West Chris Green, whose constituency includes Atherton, said: "We are seeing remainer MPs bringing forward legislation to frustrate Brexit and prevent the democratic decision of the people from being delivered.

“I oppose any legislation that weakens our country’s negotiating position or seeks to delay Brexit beyond October 31.

“The Prime Minister has been clear that we will leave the EU with or without a deal on October 31, so that we can get on to deliver our ambitious plans for investing in the NHS, education and the police which will improve people’s lives both in my constituency and across the country.”