[5th Allotted Day]

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

My right hon. Friend brings me on perfectly to the next phase of my speech, which is about the role of Parliament, how we look at the decision on extending the implementation period, and how we avoid that. We will continue to work closely with Stormont, Holyrood and the Welsh Assembly, especially on the future frameworks, which will strengthen decision-making abilities and allow for decisions previously made at EU level to be made locally. Indeed, as I said, we want to learn from this and engage with Parliament in a much more targeted way. As the Prime Minister has made clear, the Government’s intention is to ensure a greater and more formal role for Parliament in the next stage of negotiations.

The withdrawal agreement provides that if the future relationship or alternative arrangements to supersede the backstop were not going to be ready by the end of 2020, either the Northern Ireland protocol would apply or the United Kingdom could seek to extend the implementation period for up to one or two years from the start of 2021, with any extension needing to be agreed by 1 July 2020. Should that situation arise, the view of Parliament would be crucial. I am pleased to say that we will accept the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend Sir Hugo Swire, which will cement Parliament’s role in that process by requiring a vote on whether to seek to extend the implementation period or bring the backstop into effect. On the point that my right hon. Friend Sir Patrick McLoughlin makes, by accepting that amendment, we give Parliament much more of a say on this issue of concern about the triggering of the backstop.