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 Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Conservative, Esher and Walton 6:15 pm, 13th March 2017

I will vote against the amendments tonight. I want briefly to address amendment 2 on the final vote. As others have said, it is quite wrong for the noble Lords to abrogate for the other place a right of unelected peers to veto Brexit at the eleventh hour. But more than that, it would be entirely counterproductive as a matter of diplomatic practice, with Jean-Claude Juncker talking about the possibility of the UK rejoining the EU, to start these negotiations signalling that a lousy deal might lead the UK to reverse its decision. That would be surest way to elicit the worst terms. I understand the legitimate concerns and anxieties in all parts of the House at this very delicate moment for our country’s history, but the truth is that we cannot legislate away legitimate concerns that we have, whether we voted leave or remain, and we cannot legislate for every permutation of these negotiations. We have to trust the Government and support the Government. Yes, scrutinise this, but for heaven’s sake do not weaken it at the very outset of these crucial negotiations. We have debated a one-clause Bill for six weeks.

In summing up, I want to draw approvingly on the view expressed in other place by the noble Lord who headed up the remain campaign—Lord Rose. He made it very clear that in his view the Government should be given the flexibility they deserve and need to get the best deal for the country, and that it is incumbent on all politicians on all sides to rally behind the Government so that they can get the best deal for the whole country. I commend the noble Lord, and I will vote against the amendments.

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