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[2nd day]

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:47 pm on 1st February 2017.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 6:47 pm, 1st February 2017

I do not know why the hon. Gentleman does not understand; I am not taking his intervention.

In particular, we are wholly committed to the Belfast agreement and its successors. We will work with the Irish Government to maintain the common travel area on the island of Ireland and not return to the borders of the past. We have received, and we are grateful for, the submissions from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, which are being considered.

That said, the Supreme Court was clear in its judgment that triggering article 50 is a reserved matter for this Parliament, and that the devolved legislatures do not have a veto. But we have been clear that we will work very carefully to ensure that as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain, the right powers are returned to Westminster and the right powers are passed to the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Many hon. Members raised the question of the status of EU citizens living and working in the United Kingdom. Let us be clear: this Government value and appreciate the role that they play in our economy and in our communities, and we are determined to provide as much certainty as we can, as soon as we can. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been clear that guaranteeing UK citizens’ rights in the EU, and EU citizens’ rights in the UK, is one of our immediate objectives in the upcoming negotiations. Indeed, we stand ready to reach such a deal right now if the other countries of the European Union agree. To the EU citizens who are living, studying and working in the UK I say, “You will still be welcome in this country, as we trust our citizens will continue to be welcome in yours.”