Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 5:30 pm, 13th March 2017

If my hon. Friend will forgive me, I shall move on to Lords amendment 2, because I am conscious that other Members wish to speak.

Lords amendment 2 is about a meaningful vote. Essentially, the issue falls into two parts. The Government have already said that they will bring decisions before the House if the Prime Minister strikes a good deal both on our article 50 divorce negotiations and on our future trade relationships. There is, though, a good reason for not putting this in statute: as soon as we do, we enable people to challenge the process—to go to court and frustrate the ability of this House and the Government to conclude the negotiations.

On the final part of Lords amendment 2, which my right hon. Friend Sir Oliver Letwin set out very carefully, there are two parts to my objection. First, I do not agree with the Labour party. If we say that either the House of Commons or the House of Lords is able to frustrate our leaving the EU by getting a deal that we do not think is a good one, I think they will absolutely do so. I listened carefully to what my right hon. Friend Anna Soubry said, and I could not help but think that the conclusion to her remarks was that she wanted us to stay in the EU if we got a bad deal. That seemed to be the conclusion of what she said.

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