Uk’S Withdrawal from the EU

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 27th February 2019.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 2:12 pm, 27th February 2019

In the absence of either an agreement to extend article 50, to leave with a deal or to revoke article 50 all together, the default legal position under the treaties is that the exit date is two years after article 50 has been triggered; that is a matter of European law. The hon. Lady asks a perfectly serious question. I do not believe that the other Governments of the European Union have either an economic interest or a strategic interest in seeing a chaotic departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. My belief is that there would be a negotiated agreement in those circumstances. But as I said earlier, the new obligation that the Prime Minister announced yesterday is in addition to the ones that would already flow in those circumstances as a result of section 13 of the withdrawal Act—that is, section 13 as modified by the two amendments successfully moved by my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Grieve. Therefore, the matter would come back to the House and there would be an opportunity for right hon. and hon. Members to table amendments to urge particular courses of action.