Parliamentary oversight of negotiations

Part of Informal European Council – in the House of Commons at 4:57 pm on 6th February 2017.

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Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union) 4:57 pm, 6th February 2017

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to make some progress, he will see that that is not what we are asking for. When it comes to sensitive or confidential matters, we hope that there are mechanisms to allow the House to view and respond to those.

In leaving the EU, we need a deal and a process that work not just for the 52% who voted leave or the 48% who voted remain but for each and every person with a stake in our country’s future. No one can reasonably accuse the Secretary of State of being unwilling to appear before the House—he has responded to every question put to him on this subject, even if, to ape the language of the White Pape, it has not always felt as if we have got an answer—but we require something more throughout the formal negotiations: an opportunity for hon. Members to play an active role in scrutinising and influencing the process, rather than merely to observe and comment on it retrospectively. As my hon. Friend Emma Reynolds rightly argued on Second Reading, hon. Members are not passive bystanders, but should be active participants in the process.