“Tonight, I will vote to take a No Deal Brexit off the table. There is no support in either Parliament or the country for a “No Deal” Brexit. Businesses know it would be a disaster, and those on the lowest incomes would be hit the hardest. Far from an opportunity, all economic analysis and forecasts suggest that No Deal would be catastrophic for our economy. No responsible government could ever allow this to happen.
“Our economy is already severely weakened after nine years of Tory austerity, and it’s clear that the end is still not in sight. This failure has led to stifled investment and puts jobs at risk. British manufacturing is now in recession, numerous employers have announced job losses, and food producers are in despair. In 2018, our economy grew at its slowest rate in six years, and 2019 is set to have even slower growth due to Brexit uncertainty. Real wages are lower than in 2010, with productivity growth at its worst since the 1820s.
“No Deal poses a huge threat to manufacturers, which employ millions of people and contribute billions to our economy. No Deal puts many of those jobs at risk. The renaissance of manufacturing and its supply chains, bolstered by demand for exports, £275bn worth, primarily to the EU, has boosted our economy, with well-paid jobs directly and in supply chains.
“Trading on WTO terms would instantly make British manufacturers less competitive and make it very difficult for industry to justify producing goods in the UK for export. No Deal makes continued investment in UK manufacturing a real challenge for international companies, when they have plants in other EU countries. Without continued investment in our manufacturing sector, then thousands of jobs across the country will be put at immediate risk.
“No Deal would mean an end to the frictionless and tariff-free trade with the EU that our manufacturers rely on. Many businesses, such as the car industry, have supply chains and productions processes interwoven throughout Europe. The impact of non-tariff barriers under No Deal would be greatest felt by our services sector, which makes up 80% of the UK economy.
“No Deal would put infrastructure and key public services under huge strain and would significantly compromise security and our ability to tackle cross-border crime. No Deal means no reciprocal deal on citizens’ rights, including those British citizens living, working, and studying in EU countries. It means no agreement to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which would be completely unacceptable. We should be under no illusion: No Deal is not a way to prevent a hard Irish border, but a way to guarantee it.
“The Brexit Secretary, who voted Leave in 2016, said No Deal would be “ruinous” for the economy. The Government’s own forecasts suggest No Deal would knock 10% off the economy, and their own impact assessment says customs checks could cost business £13bn a year. The Government’s plans for slashing tariffs after a No Deal Brexit would flood Britain with cheap imports and put UK producers out of business. It is disgraceful that the Government would consider this without any consultation with business.
“The Prime Minister promised to tackle society’s burning injustices, but No Deal would hit struggling families at a time when people are struggling to get by. All necessary steps must be taken to avoid such an outcome, and Labour will do everything in our power to prevent No Deal. Theresa May is too weak to rule out this disastrous outcome. It’s time for Parliament to come together to find a viable plan B.”