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October EU Council

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 4:51 pm, 22nd October 2018

Let me first thank Steve for all the work he has done for the party over many years—as a former councillor, I know how hard councillors work to represent their local communities. One of the problems is that there is an assumption that we are suddenly saying that we have signed up to extending an implementation period by a year; we have not done so. What we are saying is that we need to ensure that we have a backstop in the withdrawal agreement. On the proposal we put forward on a UK-EU-wide customs territory, there has been a substantial shift from the EU. We are now working with the EU on that proposal. The other proposal that has emerged is for us to have the option, as an alternative, of choosing to extend the implementation period for a short period of time, were that to be necessary. I want to work to make sure that neither of those is necessary.