“We had no instructions” senior Tory MP and former Justice Minister Ken Clarke said on Wednesday, November 15, in a debate on Brexit on the floor of the House of Commons. The British public was not the only one left in the dark. Even MPs had no instructions, given that a proper debate over the options and the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union was never held.
“The Referendum certainly settled that the majority wanted to leave the European Union. It settled nothing else. As nobody expected Leave to win, including the Leave campaigners, who would have taken no notice of the referendum had they lost it, nobody actually paid any attention to what leaving actually meant in practical, legal, economic policy, business terms, which is the duty of this House to debate. We had no instructions. When anybody mentioned any problems of trade, investment and jobs which are only actually part of the problem – though a hugely important part- waved away by Leave campaigners, the leading Leave campaigners, the present Foreign Secretary, dismissed all that. “Politics of fear.” “Trade would carry on just as before.” “Investment would flow just as before.” That was what the public were assured and most of them believed whichever way they eventually voted. But even the Foreign Secretary is going to have to read his brief and study the basis on which international trade is conducted in the modern, globalised economy. We are going to have to avoid a House of Commons, which universally expresses belief in free trade, from quite needlessly putting protectionist barriers by way of tariffs, by way of customs procedures, by way of regulatory conditions, between ourselves and our biggest and most important market in the world. There are some very, very serious issues to be settled in this Bill and I ask the Government to reconsider silly amendments thrown out because they got a good article in the Daily Telegraph which actually might do harm.”
Watch his intervention.