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[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

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point that many hon. Members have raised, but it does not address the legal position. The position of the courts is that we cannot unilaterally extend article 50. That requires the consent of the other 27 member states, and we do not know what conditionality would be attached, if it were sought. In particular, the courts were clear that the only way would be to revoke on the basis of a permanent decision. Given that more than 80% of the electorate voted for one of the two main parties, and that both parties’ manifestos backed the decision to leave—that commitment is on page 24 of the Labour manifesto—I feel it would be divisive for our country to proceed in that way.