all day they lie in their teeth

Parliamentary Diary (reverse chronological)
Andrew Sparrow, Graun, Oct 7 2019

In response to another urgent question Conor Burns, an international trade minister, has told MPs that the government will publish its plans for the tariffs that would apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit “shortly.” That may mean tomorrow. Theresa May’s government published its own tariff schedule for no deal, but the new government will take a different approach.

In the Commons James Duddridge, the Brexit minister, has just said that his boss, the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, is going around Europe “whipping up support and enthusiasm” for the PM’s Brexit deal. (If Barclay is supposed to be whipping up enthusiasm for the deal, there is precious little evidence so far that his mission is having any success.)

Brexit minister James Duddridge says it is ‘rubbish’ and ‘not true’ to claim government planning to lower standards. In her question a few minutes ago Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, said:

The government’s refusal to publish the legal text will prompt fears that the government is prepared to lower standards. Surely the public has a right to know if the PM is prepared to sacrifice the quality of food on supermarket shelves, the rights of workers to take holidays and the rights of children to breath clean air?

James Duddridge, the Brext minister, replied:

Quite frankly, that’s a load of rubbish. That is not our intention. And our constituents, if they are worried and scared as a result of what the Liberal Democrats say, that is a terrible thing. It just simply is not true.

The Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi asked if the DUP had seen the full legal text. Why would it be right for them to see it, but not the other opposition parties? Duddridge said he would not comment. He said MPs who had been ministers would know that, in a negotiation, different people see different bits of text.

In the Commons Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit committee, said:

Something does not add up in relation to what James Duddridge said about there being no need for new infrastructure in Ireland. He said Boris Johnson told the BBC last week there would be a system of customs checks away from the border. But the plan published last week said customs checks would be carried out at traders’ premises, or other designated locations. And it said goods would be under customs supervision as they crossed the border. So how can you have customs checks with no customs infrastructure?

Duddridge replied:

The government are looking for a tailored solution.

He said the sort of procedures mentioned in the plan were already being used in some places.

Duddridge is responding to Starmer. He says:

What the PM said in the Commons on Thursday last week about there being no need for any new infrastructure anywhere was correct. The government is committed to upholding rights. That will become clear when the text is published.

Starmer is responding. He says:

MPs have not seen the 44-page legal text. That means they have to guess, or, even worse, take the PM’s word for it. The taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, says there is a contradiction between the plan and what Boris Johnson told MPs last week about there being no need for any new infrastructure in Northern Ireland. You should clear this up. Both Varadkar and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, have called for the text to be published. What is the government hiding? If it is true that workers’ and environmental rights will be protected, the full legal text should be published so people can be reassured.

Urgent question on legal text of government’s new Brexit plan. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has just asked his urgent question on when the government the legal text of its new Brexit plan. James Duddridge, the Brexit minister, is replying. He says:

The government is unconditionally committed to finding a solution to the Irish border issue. It is committed to avoiding infrastructure, checks or controls. The government published details of its new plan last week. At the same time, it also shared a legal text of the proposed changes to the withdrawal agreement with the European commission, but on a confidential basis. The government will only publish this when doing so will help get a deal.

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