Uk’S Withdrawal from the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:33 pm on 13th March 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice Conservative, Camborne and Redruth 5:33 pm, 13th March 2019

No, I will not give way.

We may be ordering the Prime Minister to go cap in hand to the European Union to beg for an extension to article 50, and we do not know what counter-offer it may make. It may demand that that extension must be for two years, and it may demand a large financial charge for that extension. It may even say that it will not give an extension, but that it is open to us to revoke article 50. Members in this House may face a very difficult, very uncomfortable decision in just a couple of weeks’ time.

I believe that we must be willing, if necessary, to take our freedom first and talk afterwards. We know that the European Union—I worked closely in a lot of the preparations for no deal—is already seeking what is, in effect, an informal nine-month understanding.

There have been a number of points over the past two years when I think the Government could have reappraised their approach to the negotiations. Personally, it became clear to me a year ago, at the point at which the implementation period was agreed, that our negotiations were getting into a little bit of trouble, and that we were in danger of drifting along a path of least resistance, only to find that we had an agreement that Parliament would not accept. At about that time, something else interesting happened.