Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:21 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 8:21 pm, 13th March 2019

As the hon. Gentleman will know, the Prime Minister set out some time ago that should the House reject the withdrawal agreement and future declaration, there would be a discussion for the House to decide whether it wished to take leaving the EU without a deal off the table, and then, should the House make that decision, there would be a further discussion on whether the House wishes to seek an extension to article 50. That is the motion we will discuss tomorrow.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has just said, tomorrow’s motion will set out the fundamental choices facing the House. If the House finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, that will allow the Government to seek a short, limited, technical extension to article 50 till 30 June 2019, to provide time to pass the necessary legislation and ratify the agreement we have reached with the EU. If the House does not find the way to support a deal in the coming days, and is not willing to support leaving without a deal on 29 March, it is highly likely that the EU will require a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length, and that any extension beyond 30 June 2019 would require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May. I hope that that answers the hon. Gentleman’s question.