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Exiting the European Union (Mediation)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:23 pm on 18th February 2019.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 8:23 pm, 18th February 2019

I thank hon. Members for their important contributions, and I will respond briefly to some of the points raised. The shadow Minister, Imran Hussain, made broad criticisms of the Department’s justice planning, but we in the Department take our governmental responsibilities very seriously. We have laid before Parliament several SIs for no-deal planning, many of which we have debated and passed; we have the £17 million from the Treasury to prepare; and we are liaising and working with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the judiciary to ensure that we are ready should we leave on 29 March without a deal. That said, the best way to avoid a no-deal outcome is to approve the Prime Minister’s deal. That is why I voted for it. If the hon. Gentleman would like to avoid a no-deal exit on 29 March, that option is open to him as well.

I will deal now with the shadow Minister’s specific points about the SI. We have always had very high mediation standards. Domestic mediations take place across the country in a wide range of jurisdictions; they did so to a high standard before this directive came into force a few years ago; and they will maintain those high standards when we leave the EU. As is said in my opening speech, we are revoking the EU directive because we cannot rely on reciprocity in the future—that is the approach we have taken in our SIs—and where we will not get reciprocity, we are revoking the instruments by which we are currently bound.