Customs duties

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 20th December 2017.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 5:45 pm, 20th December 2017

The hon. Lady tempts me to dilate on the details of the implementation period, which are to be negotiated, but that is not my purpose today, because it is not the purpose of this Bill. The purpose of this Bill is to deliver a functioning statute book as we leave the European Union.

With that in mind, I turn to new clauses 10 and 54 on the transitional or implementation period. Both new clauses seek to impose conditions on what form the implementation period the Government are seeking will take. I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe for his new clause, which attempts to write the PM’s vision for an implementation period into statute. That would be a novel constitutional change. Nevertheless, I welcome it in the sense that it is a ringing endorsement of Government policy. New clause 10, however, differs in some key regards from our vision.

The Government cannot accept these new clauses. The Prime Minister has set out a proposal that is now subject to negotiation. We are confident of reaching that agreement, but it would not be sensible for the Government to constrain themselves domestically in any way while those negotiations continue. We are making good progress, and it is in our mutual interests to conclude a good agreement that works for everyone. We do not want to put the legislative cart before the diplomatic horse.