An updated statement from The Rt Hon Kevan Jones MP regarding No-Deal and the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill 2017-19:
This week the House of Commons passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill 2017-19 (https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/europeanunionwithdrawalno6.html), which I supported.
The aim of the Bill is to ensure that, in the event the Government fails to secure a deal with the EU, an extension must be requested. This is to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU on 31st October 2019 without a deal.
Although I have been very clear since 2016 that I respect the referendum result, I was also elected in 2017 on a commitment to reject the idea of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
Those arguing for Brexit in 2016, did not argue for no-deal, which would be devastating for the UK economy and particularly the livelihoods of thousands of people in the North East.
The Bill does not prevent the Government from negotiating a deal with the EU before 31st October which, if it did, and was passed, would supersede the Bill agreed this week. Despite many public statements made by the PM that he wants a deal with the EU, all the evidence suggests that no serious attempt is being made to conclude a deal. Despite being challenged on numerous occasions this week to outline his negotiating strategy, he has stubbornly refused to do so.
Having failed in his attempt to defeat the Bill this week, his tactics were then to use the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act to call a General Election which I did not support as I viewed this as a cynical attempt by the Prime Minister to establish a General Election date which would have not afforded the House time to adequately scrutinise his plans, and would have given him the ability to continue his plans to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.
On the matter of the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament in an attempt to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny, it is my opinion that, through these unprecedented and worrying times, it is vitally important Parliament sits through the Conference Season and continues to scrutinise the Government and work for a viable deal.
Whilst I accept that leaving the EU without a deal may appear a clean break, the reality is that, besides the unnecessary economic dislocation this would cause, no-deal would be the start of many years of negotiation conducted from a weaker and more uncertain position.
As such, far from constituting a quick and easy fix, no-deal would be the start, not the end and would put us on a long and difficult pathway with an uncertain future.
If any constituent would like to come and discuss this matter, I am always happy to meet in person to talk further at your convenience.
The Rt Hon Kevan Jones MP