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

The Chairman of the Select Committee, who is not here, said his Committee wanted a plan as quickly as possible—before the middle of February; I said it would be difficult to turn out a full White Paper before then. One of the virtues of delivering the plan via a prime ministerial speech of some length was that we could do it quickly, we could make it very clear and everybody could understand it. It also got coverage around the world in a way that no other medium could have. People remind me—and sometimes tease me, of course—of my history as an activist for parliamentary rights. The important point is that we are here only because we represent our constituents’ interests.

I have tried—I keep reiterating this phrase—to provide as much information as possible. Let us take the plan with respect to what was asked for by Labour Front-Bench Members and the Select Committee. They asked, “What are we going to do about the single market?” and hopefully that is now plain. They asked, “What are we going to do about the customs union?”, and hopefully that is now plain. They asked, “What are we going to do about justice and home affairs?”, and hopefully that is now plain. They asked, “What role is seen for Britain in the world?”, and hopefully that is now plain, too. Of course, what we cannot do is say what the outcome of the negotiation will be. We cannot give that level of certainty, but we can certainly give a level of certainty, as we have and as we will, as to what the aims and strategic objectives are. We have done that.