I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Will the Minister therefore enlighten the House about the timetable for publishing the Government’s policy on the backstop for the Northern Ireland border, and as I say, with the discussions ongoing, will the Secretary of State discuss that with the chief negotiator?
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we do not give a running commentary on all the meetings we have, but he should be aware that there is certainly a backstop and it will last until the end of December 2021.
May I just say that the European Commission has agreed, in the joint report it signed in December, that there will be no hard border—no physical infrastructure on the border? It is also incumbent on us to make sure that the details of the Belfast agreement are met, which means ensuring that there is not a hard border.
Are any conversations going on with the taskforce with regards to the extension of the article 50 period? If so, will the Minister reiterate that that would be rejected totally and out of hand?
As I said earlier, we will not be giving an ongoing commentary on all our meetings. However, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we have the implementation period until the end of December 2020, and then the backstop agreement, but only if that is required under specific circumstances, and no more.