Opinion: No Deal could unravel 20 years of peace
PUBLISHED: 08:30 05 October 2019
Last week I visited Dublin with the Brexit Select Committee, led by our chairman, Hilary Benn.
We met MPs, business representatives and the deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney. He said Hilary Benn's recent parliamentary bill has made him famous in Ireland!
Hilary Benn's bill - now an Act - requires the prime minister to apply to delay Brexit if he has no deal by the European Council meeting on October 17.
If the prime minister doesn't obey the law, court action will follow to force him to.
There would be serious problems in Ireland if we left the EU without a deal.
We met the commissioner of the Irish police.
He's worried Brexit will increase cross-border smuggling.
The police also say border customs checks would be an irresistible target for extremists.
So a No Deal Brexit could unravel twenty years of peace since the Good Friday Agreement.
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The problems of leaving the EU without a deal are spelt out in the government's secret "Operation Yellowhammer" report.
Parliament forced ministers to make it public.
The problems include shortages of fresh food - we are especially dependent on imports from the continent in the winter - and medicine, and of fuel.
A lot of problems centre around Dover.
The Freight Transport Association, representing companies, told our committee recently that long delays at Dover will be inevitable if we leave the EU without a deal.
Labour is united in parliament in opposing a No Deal Brexit.
There will be a lot at stake.
I hope we will ensure we don't leave the EU without a deal.
After that, the public should be invited to decide, in a further referendum, whether to leave with a negotiated deal or, after all, to stay in the EU.
And in that referendum, I shall campaign to Remain.