Watch David Drew MP's passionate speech on Brexit

Watch David Drew MP's passionate speech on Brexit

 

I spoke on the parliamentary debate on the EU withdrawal debate last night.

This is the full text of my speech:

There can be few times in the history of Parliament when MPs have faced two such difficult issues as Iraq and Brexit. There are parallels. Those of us who voted against the invasion of Iraq were continually leaned on by the Executive and told that if we knew what they knew, we would vote for the invasion. That turned out to be one the biggest foreign policy disasters that this country has known, and I fear that Brexit will become one of the biggest domestic policy disasters this country has known.

 

The right hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes) quoted Disraeli, but I think that if Disraeli came back to the House now, he would be struck not by differences but by similarities. There are huge divisions in the country. Two of the great novels of the 19th century, “Sybil” and “Coningsby”, explained those huge divisions and what they meant to this country and the poor of this country.

 

I disagree with the hon. Member for Bournemouth West (Conor Burns), but I share his analysis. Why did people vote for Brexit? They did so because of austerity. They felt that they had been left behind and ignored. And it did not have to be that way. Other countries in the EU chose a different route. The Portuguese, in particular, under the Government of António Costa, chose to take on the troika, which went in and told them they were bankrupt, and would have to cut and cut and cut more, and they chose not to. They took on the troika, and Portugal has recovered more quickly than any other southern European country.

 

That is why Brexit is such a poisonous debate. I believe that the Prime Minister’s deal is the wrong deal. As I said earlier, we are being given a false prospectus. The idea that it is “my deal or no deal” is completely wrong. We should reject this deal and recognise that this is a race to the bottom. The hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Deidre Brock) was right about this magical idea that WTO rules will be great for our economy. We know what they involve. We need to look at the economic underpinning and what it would require us to do. It is not our salvation.

 

That is why we must rule out no deal, but also vote against the Prime Minister’ deal and come back with something substantive, and then test it electorally. Personally, I want that to be via a general election, but if we are driven towards a referendum, much as I hate referendums, it is something we will have to face up to in order to bring this country back together again, because the divisions have been made so great. We need to recognise that our policies are wrong and do something about it.

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