EU Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Changes

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 3:37 pm, 7th January 2019

It is always good to hear from my right hon. and learned Friend, but I take issue with his question. First, he says this is an arbitrary date. The article 50 process set a two-year timeline and, indeed, this House voted for the date to be set in the Bill. Secondly—he touched on this in his interview on the “Today” programme, when he suggested that we revoke article 50 with a view to having a second referendum decision—the European Court of Justice was clear that revoking article 50 cannot be done as a tactical device in order then to go back on that decision; it has to be a confirmed intention at that time. If this is about extending that, an extension requires the agreement of all 27 member states, but if it is about revoking it, the Court was clear that revoking article 50 is not about buying more time; it is about making a clear decision that we do not intend at that point to proceed.