Exiting the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 10:00 pm, 11th March 2019

The Prime Minister is still engaged in the talks in Strasbourg, but it is certainly her intention to speak personally to the First Ministers of both Scotland and Wales at the earliest opportunity once those talks have concluded.

I must say to the hon. Gentleman that I take exception to his insinuation that the Government are in some way resiling from their support for the difficult and challenging process of peace-building and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, which ought to unite members of all parties in the House. As has been said repeatedly by the Prime Minister and others, our commitment to all the undertakings that were given in, and flow from, the Belfast/Good Friday agreement continue undiminished, and will always do so while this Government are in office.

Finally, let me say that I thought the hon. Gentleman painted a caricature of the Government’s attitude to Scotland and the Scottish people. I will not go into the political knockabout, although I am sorely tempted to do so, but I will say this: it is a bit rich for him to give lectures about respecting the results of referendums, given that when what his then party leader—now airbrushed out of history—described as a

“once in a generation opportunity” to vote for Scottish independence was put to the people of Scotland, it was rejected decisively. I only wish that the hon. Gentleman would accept that mandate from the Scottish people.