View from the house: Labour are fighting for deal to fit UK economy


- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

It is not often that MPs can say they hold the future of the entire country in their hands. Last week 650 MPs most certainly did.

There were 15 important amendments which the Lords made to the original government bill but in reality only two were mission critical.

The first is the amendment to give parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal.

The second is the amendment on the Customs Union which is the agreement so important for businesses and their supply chains that would remove any tariffs or quotas on goods crossing the border between the EU and the UK. Labour has set out its position in support of jobs and the economy and is backed by both the CBI and the TUC.

The final amendment that has been much publicised is whether the UK should join the single market via the Norway model of the EEA. Labour’s position is that we do, of course, need to have access to the single market and to have an alignment of things like air safety and food standards regulations but we must respect the referendum result. The EEA option would not do that. It would mean continuing to pay money into the EU budgets, accepting all the rules but without any say in their formulation, it would mean keeping freedom of movement and the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice.

Labour has tabled an amendment to the EEA Lords Amendment. We want a bespoke deal that is different from the deal Norway negotiated to fit their economy. Their deal does not cover agriculture or fishing and they are not in a Customs Union. Our UK economy is different and our deal should fit our economy not Norway’s.