Bishop of Leeds repeats call for more honest language in response to Prime Minister’s EU Council statement

On 17th December 2018 the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister, about the EU Council meeting. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, would the Leader of the House agree with me that the language of the Statement is not helpful? It says:

“But let us not risk the jobs, services and security of the people whom we serve”.

​It is a fact that Brexit, of itself and the process we have gone through, has already done that. To say “Let us not further risk” might be more accurate.

It also says:

“Another vote would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics”.

That integrity has already been rubbished by the lack of honesty about the realities that Brexit entails. Thirdly, it states that we should,

“get this Brexit done and shift the national focus to our domestic priorities”,

as if they were either/or.

As Sir Ivan Rogers makes clear in his remarkable lecture from the University of Liverpool—to which I would like to see a response from the Government—Brexit is process, not event, so there is no way in which it can be “got done”.

This stage of it might be, but surely it is misleading to the country to suggest that it is somehow done if we get through this bit.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park: This Government are going to deliver on the wishes of the British people, as expressed in the referendum. We and the EU have been clear that this is the best deal possible. It is a deal that we have worked extremely hard to secure and it will lead to a strong relationship between the UK and the EU in future. That is what we have been working towards and want to deliver to the British people, because that is what the British people wanted.