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

That point brings me to subsection (4), so let me deal with that in a little more detail. This new clause, effectively, seeks to prohibit the Prime Minister from walking away from negotiations, even if she thinks the European Union is offering her a bad or very bad deal. As I will get on to, the impact of this is unclear, but even the intent goes far beyond what we have offered or could accept. The Government will be undertaking these negotiations and must have the freedom to walk away from a deal that sets out to punish the UK for a decision to leave the EU, as some in Europe have suggested.

Of course, we are seeking a mutually beneficial new relationship, which we believe can and will work for everyone, but tying the Government’s hands in this way could be the worst way of trying to achieve that deal. And let us not forget: in December, this House passed a motion that nothing should be done to undermine the negotiating position of the Government.