European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 2:03 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 2:03 pm, 12th March 2019

There is a very simple and basic point that the hon. Lady seems to have forgotten: it is not possible for the European Union to negotiate and sign the legal text of that future trade relationship with the United Kingdom while we are a member of the European Union. We cannot do that until we have left the European Union, so if she wants us to get on to negotiating the future relationship, she should vote for the deal tonight. Let us get on to that next stage.

Important though the backstop is, it was not the only concern that hon. Members had. Another was in regard to the political declaration, because, as the hon. Lady hinted at her in question, it provides for a spectrum of possible outcomes. Members asked how they could be confident about what sort of future relationship the Government would negotiate.