Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:22 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Conservative, Witney 3:22 pm, 4th December 2018

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. In the middle of a negotiation, in any discussion that by necessity is high profile and tense, any disclosure of advice that might undermine a negotiator is clearly to be regretted. The Commission will have its legal advice, and we might like to see it, but there is a good reason why we cannot see it and why the Commission should not be able to see ours.

The Government are approaching this matter in a better way than the Opposition’s motion because, as hon. Members have mentioned, they have used an archaic procedure. It was not designed to deal with this situation. [Interruption.] I hear an hon. Member say the whole House is archaic. The whole House is old and historic and flexible, but this procedure has not been used for many years and is not designed for a matter of such sensitivity. It is designed for the production of documents, not legal advice