Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

Part of European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 13th March 2017.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee 6:15 pm, 13th March 2017

No, I will not.

The way forward would have been for the EU to say straightaway, “Yes, you’re making this offer. We accept it. No problem.”

However, the second point, on the second amendment, is the more important one. We have heard it said repeatedly from the Opposition Front Bench and from elsewhere in the Chamber that no deal is the worst possible outcome for Britain. Put another way, that is like saying that any deal at all is better than no deal, and I would like to draw a parallel with those arms negotiations in the 1980s. The most successful negotiations were those that led to the treaty in 1987, when we got rid of all the cruise missiles and Pershing missiles on our side, and the Russians got rid of all the SS-20s. It happened like this: we carried out our threat in the negotiations, and the other side walked away from the negotiating table, but when they saw we meant it, they came back, and they gave us a better deal. What we have to remember is this: no deal may lead to a better deal a year or two down the road. If you are determined to take any deal rather than no deal, you will end up with a much worse deal than you might otherwise have had.