We’re running out of time. There are only 62 days until we leave the EU and the government doesn’t seem to have a plan for what happens next. Small and large businesses up and down the country are worried about the prospect of a crashing out of the EU with no deal.
We’re supporting Amendment B tabled by Yvette Cooper which the Commons will be voting on Tuesday to create time for Parliament to debate an extension to Article 50 in specified circumstances.
This isn’t about stopping Brexit or overturning the result of the referendum, it just rules out crashing out of the EU without a deal, because the Prime Minister has run down the clock. It is a necessary contingency plan. It will give vital reassurance to companies like those in our constituencies, concerned about the potential huge damage to their businesses and risks to jobs if we have no-deal Brexit.
Whatever your view about how we leave or whether we seek to put the final choice back to the British people, this is a vital debate to ensure that we have the time for further dialogue to decide what to do should a deal not be reached.
No-deal would be chaotic and damaging – it would mean a hike in food prices at a time when more people than ever are using foodbanks, delays to accessing medicines and medical devices such as radioactive isotopes for cancer treatment, disruption and damage for manufacturing and small businesses, congested ports and motorways, as well as a dangerous weakening of our border security. Neil Basu, head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police has raised his serious concern about the impact, saying: “if we have no-deal Brexit, and we could not share that information, and if we lose access to those systems, it will inevitably make the UK and Europe less safe than it is today.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking on the Today programme on Friday laid out the stark reality of no-deal, “there will be a long-term impact through a reduction in the size of our economy.” HM Treasury analysis clearly backs this up, with a no-deal set to shrink the UK economy by 7.7% over 15 years, meaning we will be £150billion worse-off under this scenario.
We’re only in this position because of the Government’s endless delays and their failure to consult Parliament at every stage of the process. Now with less than nine weeks to go, Parliament has to do the responsible thing and rule out no-deal. The risks to local businesses, manufacturers, the NHS and national security from no-deal are just too great. We have to rule out the worst possible option for the country and have a sensible debate on what comes next.
Seema Malhotra is the Labour MP for Feltham and Heston
Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Kingston-upon-Hull North