UK’s Withdrawal from the EU

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 12:19 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 12:19 pm, 14th February 2019

My right hon. Friend was just moving on to an alternative, but it seems to me that he has just given the starkest expression of policy that I have heard the Government give so far on what will happen if the present negotiations fail; these are alarming possibilities. He says that we are bound by the legislation relating to article 50, which indeed we are, but when the House agreed to use article 50, it was on the assumption that a negotiated deal would be arrived at. [Interruption.] Well, of course it was. Indeed, at one point the Prime Minister presented to this House what she said was the ideal deal with which to go on to the full negotiations towards meeting the Government’s declared aim of having a proper, permanent relationship with the EU in due course. The idea of going for the catastrophe of no deal on the arbitrary date of 29 March, simply because the Prime Minister will probably fail to persuade the other member states to put a time limit on a permanent open border in Europe, is ridiculous. The Government could have a policy of coming back here to defer or revoke article 50 to put the situation in some order.