So keen was I to challenge the government’s chaotic Brexit plans this morning that even the Speaker was taken aback!
But on a more serious note, I have repeatedly asked the government to consider the implications Brexit will have for businesses in the creative and digital industries – of which there are many here in Bristol West. Now the government has started indicating that they will be asking businesses to prepare for a “no-deal” Brexit – where we are unable to agree any terms with the European Union and we crash out with no stable relationship with our nearest trading partners.
This is wholly unacceptable and avoidable for all businesses in Bristol, but the lack of detailed consideration for how this will affect creative and digital businesses is hugely frustrating. It’s particularly galling that the same Brexiteers who dismissed the remain campaigns warnings about this outcome as “project fear” are asking businesses to prepare for precisely this catastrophic outcome. You may well have caught a clip of me on the BBC One 1 o’clock news making just this point!
The hon. Member for Bristol West (Thangam Debbonaire) is leaping to her feet with a vigour and enthusiasm that reminds me of my younger self.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Given that the advice the Government now seem to be hinting at—that businesses should prepare for a no deal situation—looks an awful lot like the consequences that we remainers were criticised for raising during the referendum as “Project Fear”, does the Minister understand why the creative and digital industries in my constituency, of which there are many, do not trust the Government to negotiate on their behalf one little bit?
I know how experienced the hon. Lady is in the arts sector. The White Paper proposes new arrangements for services and for the creative and digital sectors, recognising that the UK and the EU will not have the current levels of access to each other’s markets. The EU and the UK included broadcasting in the joint list of topics for discussion in the future framework, which reflects our shared understanding of the importance of the sector as a whole. Obviously, it is the responsible duty of the Government to prepare for all outcomes.
You can watch a video of the exchange below: