Once again I pressed Michael Gove on the Brexit negotiations this morning. The talks cover many aspects of our future relationship, with an agreement on trade critical to jobs and the economy.
Businesses have just two weeks before the end of the transition period, yet the Government still haven’t secured a deal, and companies across the country are crying out for clarity. Some companies are now planning to stop exporting to the EU because of the uncertainty.
The Prime Minister promised an “oven-ready deal” to end “dither and delay” – so I challenged Michael Gove on how many jobs have been lost because of damaging uncertainty created by their handling of the talks.
In recent months, on many occasions our Shadow Cabinet Office team and other MPs, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, have raised the vital issue of security and policing co-operation after the end of the transition period with Michael Gove.
We still haven’t had a clear answer. There’s been no clarity on the Government’s plans for policing our borders without access to the live data updates on criminal movements that are currently used hundreds of millions of times a year through systems such as SIS II after December 31st.
This morning, Home Secretary Priti Patel told Radio 4’s Today programme that, for international security, “all the types of channels we have used in the past – we will continue to use going forward”.
However, police chiefs have warned that the deal the Government is pursuing will mean we lose access to those databases and the vital information they contain.
When I challenged Gove on Patel’s misleading claim, he replied “The Home Secretary is always right.”
This Government aren’t bothered about the truth. It appears to be another example of the Government taking their advice from the Wellingborough Conservative Association newsletter, which advises activists to “say the first thing that comes into your head” rather than bothering with facts.”
Michael Gove knows that he’s wrong, but would rather protect the embattled Home Secretary and avoid the truth over this Government’s incompetence, which could make the UK less safe from January 1 without security information access for those on the frontline.