It was announced this week that the Department of Transport is to cancel all the no deal contracts it had in place with ferry companies. This will cost the taxpayers £50million. This comes on top of the £33million that the Department had to settle with Eurotunnel as it did not undertake due process when drafting these, now cancelled, contracts.
I asked the Minister if she could assure us that these ferry companies wouldn’t get double bubble in the event of a no deal Brexit in October. This is because the UK Government is still adamant that this could be an outcome for Brexit – despite Parliament voting it down on multiple occasions.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, has cost the taxpayers £2.7billion whilst in Government. It is time for him to go and stop wasting our money.
If we crash out of the EU without a deal we will lose all 26 agreements we currently have in place to allow the transfer of prisoners. I asked the Minister of State what progress has been made to make sure that we keep these transfer agreements.
The Minister agreed with me that a no deal Brexit would see us lose these agreements and move back to an old system where transfer of prisoners would be far slower.
This is just another example of how Brexit is impacting things not discussed nearly three years ago. When even a Minister that supports the Government is saying we will lose a beneficial agreement due to Brexit we must listen.
A cross-party Bill was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday which would allow Parliament to block a no deal Brexit once and for all. It was drafted by my friend Yvette Cooper MP and the Conservative MP Oliver Letwin MP.
I spoke of how we needed to rebuild trust between each other, both in Parliament and across the country, so that we could try and find a solution to the Brexit mess we find ourselves in. Parliament has voted, as have I, time and time again to block a No Deal Brexit this Bill merely makes it a reality.
One MP intervened on my speech to say that the European Arrest Warrant wasn’t that important because he believed that one case undermined its purpose. This is utterly wrong. As a former Minister of State for Counter-Terrorism and Policing as well as a Direct Rule Minister for Northern Ireland I can tell you that any loss of access to these vital tools would undermine our security and safety.
The division was won by a single vote – 313 to 312 and has now meant that the Bill can proceed to the House of Lords.
Labour pulled the Government back to the House of Commons today to answer series questions over what they intend to do next week with the third meaningful vote and the Statutory Instrument – the measure needed to change our departure date from the EU.
I pointed out to the Minister, that outside of Westminster their are people trying to plan their lives and organise their businesses but can’t because of the utter confusion at the heart of government.
The response was not reassuring at all. The Minister talked of ‘hopes’ and ‘intends’ but could give us a date. That’s all we wanted and that is all people want across the country.
The contempt being shown to Parliament and the people is negligence in the highest order. The next seven days are going to be the most important in modern UK history and it is time our Government acted in the national interest and not in its own.