Article 50

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 12:39 pm, 24th January 2017

I do not often disagree with myself, but let me say this to the right hon. Gentleman: the speech given last week by the Prime Minister was the clearest exposition of a negotiating strategy that I have heard in modern times. It laid out clearly what we judge the national interest to be and how we intend to protect it, what we want to do, and what we hope does not happen and how we will avoid that. I do not see that this Government have avoided answering any question, whether from his Committee or from Opposition Front Benchers. The only questions that we have been unable to answer are those that it would be to the disadvantage of the country to answer, because that would undermine our negotiating strategy.

Let me give the right hon. Gentleman one example. A couple of weeks ago, my opponent, as it were, Keir Starmer, said on Channel 4, “What we want to know is whether the Government will pay for access to the single market and how much they’ll pay.” If anything would undermine the negotiating position, that would. It is precisely that sort of thing that we are going to avoid. We will continue to give information to the House. I gave the Brexit Committee an undertaking that we will give at least as much information as will go to the European Parliament—indeed more, I think. We will continue to keep the House informed throughout the entire process, which is not going to be over in a few weeks—it will last two years—and the House will be as well informed as it has been on any matter of such importance.