Owen Paterson MP given assurance given on parliament's Brexit vote
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson has secured assurances that Britain will still leave the EU even if MPs vote against the bill.
MPs would get to have their say on any deal agreed with the EU, enshrining it in UK law, the Brexit secretary David Davis told the Commons this week.
But when challenged on what would happen if they vote against the deal – or no deal is reached under the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill – he conceded that Britain would leave the EU regardless.
Former Tory minister and Brexit backer Mr Paterson asked: “If the House of Commons votes down the new withdrawal bill, will the consequence be we still leave on March 29 2019, but without an agreement?” Mr Davis replied: “Yes.”
Anna Soubry, a remain-supporting former Tory minister, then asked Mr Davis: “Can you confirm in the event of no agreement – no deal – this place will have no say, and we will leave on that date without any say from this supposedly sovereign parliament which voted to take back control?” Mr Davis said: “If we don’t have a withdrawal agreement we can’t have a withdrawal agreement bill, full stop.”
Labour former minister Chris Leslie added: “Hasn’t Mr Davis just given the game away of what a sham offer this is? Totally worthless to parliament, essentially trying to buy off people.”
Tory MP and remain backer Heidi Allen said Mr Davis’s concession was “pointless” while the government was trying to write into law that Britain’s EU membership would end on March 29 2019, deal or no deal.
Mr Paterson has previously warned that any attempts to punish Britain for leaving the EU could lead to widespread job losses in mainland Europe. He said that the German car industry would be particularly vulnerable if the EU chose to impose punitive tariffs on British exports. A new report estimated that should we move to a tariff regime, the German motor car industry alone could lose between 8,600 and 29,400 jobs, Mr Paterson added.