[5th Allotted Day]

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Act – in the House of Commons at 2:27 pm on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 2:27 pm, 9th January 2019

Again, I will come on to that. As we move from dealing with the winding-down arrangements to the trade negotiation—that will be the second phase of the negotiations, because leaving the European Union is not a single event but a process—there will be a significant opportunity to recognise the fact that Scotland voted differently, as did other parts of the United Kingdom, and to engage with Parliament, as the Prime Minister referred to in her interview on “The Andrew Marr Show” at the weekend. We will be looking to work with Parliament in different ways, and particularly in a targeted way with the Select Committees, and to work more closely with the devolved Administrations, because there are different interests. The trade negotiation phase will allow us to explore that.

I think that “show not tell” is important in politics. My very first meeting in this role—I prioritised this—was with the lead Ministers in the Scottish and Welsh Governments to discuss their concerns, so that we could move from having regular meetings to making them more effective and more targeted.

We know that there is no future trade agreement and no implementation period without a withdrawal agreement, as that agreement contains the guarantee on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the backstop, but us just look at the Opposition’s position. The Leader of the Opposition rejects that on the basis that he can first trigger a general election and then negotiate a new deal that secures things the EU has consistently ruled out, such as a third party having a say over its trade policy. He is then going to secure that new deal and pass the legislation to enact it, and he is going to do all of that before 29 March. So we are going to have a general election, a new trade agreement—even though the EU itself ruled that out and says this is the only deal on offer, he is going to uniquely secure a new deal—and he is going to pass the legislation to ratify that, all within the next 78 days. Yet Labour’s sister parties actually support the withdrawal agreement, not least to recognise one of the proudest achievements of the Labour party, the peace process.