EU Exit Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:42 am on 15th November 2018.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 10:42 am, 15th November 2018

First, we will be leaving the EU on 29 March 2019; that is a set date and I am determined that we will deliver on that whatever happens in between. On the backstop question, as I have said, neither side wants the backstop arrangement to be operated, but if it was, it is no more than a temporary construct. There are various aspects to this, and I will draw my hon. Friend’s attention to one or two of them. First, it is not possible on the legal basis of article 50, under which this withdrawal agreement is set, for it to set a permanent relationship for the future. That is explicitly referred to in the withdrawal agreement: it does not establish a permanent relationship. That is inherent in the operation of the article 50 legal base. I also say to my hon. Friend that one of the things we have got removed from this protocol is the idea that was there at one stage that if we had moved on to the future relationship and the British Government chose to change that future relationship, the backstop could be reinserted; it cannot be—once it is superseded, it cannot be revived.