Adam Price's incredible Brexit speech in full
Here's the speech by Adam Price, Leader of Plaid Cymru, against the Tories' hard Brexit deal in full. (We had goosebumps too.)
The vote being held in Westminster today is a piece of pure political theatre. It’s not necessary to ratify the treaty as the Executive can do that without parliamentary approval. It isn’t even necessary to implement it as most of that can be done via secondary legislation. The proposition that this is somehow a vote on No Deal is an unalloyed bare-faced lie that the Westminster Opposition, for their own strategic reasons, have decided to swallow whole.
The real rationale for today’s parliamentary pantomime is to give Boris Johnson his moment of glory and the mandate for what comes next and it’s that very fact that should be focusing our minds and strengthening our opposition. The war is over says Nigel Farage but the Battle of Britain has just begun.
As the ERG’s blessing should prove beyond doubt, this is the hard Tory Brexit of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s darkest dreams.
The ultra-right-wing of the Conservative Party didn’t hold out for this deal rather than Mrs May’s because of fishing or because of northern Ireland – because they have cheerfully sold out on the promises they gave both those communities. They held out for this deal because at its rotten core is what they truly represent. Because their hard Brexit is simply the bridgehead to their vision of Britain as the world’s hypermarket where the only thing that’s made is profit.
That’s what this deal is designed to enable. In this thin deal to use the First Minister’s phrase the commitments on labour and environmental standards are wafer thin. There is only a commitment not to lower protection which would affect trade or investment. But as the IPPR has said it’s notoriously difficult to prove regulatory impact on trade or investment so the Deal in effect leaves protections for workers and for the environment completely vulnerable.
We are about to see the UK turned into a laboratory for endless experiments in extreme right wing economics – which is why every party, bar two, in these islands is going to vote against this Bill today. And that includes the Scottish Labour Party.
I hope that Welsh Labour members will too declare their independence too by voting for our amendments.
If anyone thought for one minute that Brexit was about restoring the sovereignty of Parliament then look at this entire sorry saga. The monarch lied to last year to illegally shut-down parliament. And today Parliament set to discuss 1,246 pages of a treaty and a bill published overnight in a few hours, leaving the Single Market in one day when thirty years ago joining it took twenty five days of parliamentary scrutiny and champion filibusters like Bill Cash then complained it wasn’t enough.
This is not about democracy, and it’s certainly about our democracy in this institution. The treaty itself enshrines our position as a second-class, subordinate parliament, ever vulnerable to Westminster’ whims. Section 3.11.5 of the treaty makes it clear that only the Westminster Parliament can legislate to make subsidies immune from recovery – with huge implications for the exercise of our own powers over social and economic policy.
For that reason alone we should oppose the Future Relationships Bill today.
I realise the difficulty that Labour members will feel in following a different line to their leader at Westminster.
But we have a Prime Minister who cynically changed his position on Brexit simply to become Prime Minister. The last thing we need is a Leader of the Opposition who does the same.
Which of Starmer’s six tests has this deal met?
Does it prevent a race to the bottom? It enables it.
Does it protect national security? It casts us adrift from Europol
Does it deliver the exact same benefits as the Single Market and Customs Union. It rips us out of the Single Market and wraps our businesses, our farmers and yes our fishermen and women too in red-white and blue tape that will slowly but surely choke them.
Can the Welsh economy adapt? Yes, we will have no choice. And there will be other changes in the next ten years – AI, net zero – that represent even bigger threats and opportunities. But the lesson of the last four years is that we should not allow our economic destiny as a nation to be decided by political whims at Westminster. We can only do that by claiming our own independence. Not their fake sovereignty but our own real democracy, rejecting their future and choosing our own.