Future Relationship Between the UK and the EU

Part of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 18th July 2018.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker Conservative, Wycombe 5:06 pm, 18th July 2018

Mr Speaker, I am conscious that I am going beyond the guidance that you gave us, and I am very grateful to you for allowing that.

What I would say to my hon. Friend Sir Edward Leigh is that I believe that the problems of the Irish border are first and foremost to do with political and administrative will. A great deal has been said about technology, which is in fact a distraction from the reality that there is already a border, particularly in relation to excise. It is necessary to have an element of political and administrative fudge on the border, if I may say so, but to do it in a way that works for both sides. I believe that it really is political and administrative will that stands in the way, and that there are no insurmountable problems on the border. I also believe that there are no insurmountable problems with customs declarations or rules of origin. I very much hope that my hon. Friend Mr Fysh might touch on that, as I know that he is an expert on the subject.

The second point is to table legal text to stand ready in good faith to negotiate the landing zone set out by the President and Council and to be ready to deliver in the spirit of article 8.

The third thing we must do is that thing which the Cabinet resolved collectively at Chequers. We must accelerate the delivery of our plans to leave the European Union in the unwanted eventuality that nothing can be agreed. We must be ready. We cannot allow ourselves to be in a position where complacency means that the Government machine goes forward thinking that any deal will go through Parliament, when I feel confident that deals that are for want of a better term too soft will be rejected by this House. We cannot allow ourselves to be put in a position in which we are perhaps not as ready as we should be and a deal is unexpectedly voted down.