Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:30 pm, 13th March 2017

I will give way in a moment.

However, the European Union has been clear that we cannot open these discussions until the Prime Minister has given formal notification that the UK wishes to withdraw from the EU. That is why we must pass this straightforward Bill without further delay, so that the Prime Minister can get to work on the negotiations, and we can secure a quick deal that secures the status both of EU citizens in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU, of which there are around 1 million.

We take very seriously—I take very seriously—our moral responsibility to all 4 million UK and EU citizens. The Prime Minister has been clear that this issue will be one of the top priorities for the immediate negotiations. I also welcome the encouraging words from across the channel, particularly from Poland and Sweden, which fill me with confidence that we will reach a swift agreement with our European partners. Indeed, as Beata Szydlo, the Polish Prime Minister, has said:

“Of course, these guarantees would need to be reciprocal. It’s also important what guarantees the British citizens living and working in other member states of the European Union will have.”

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