European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 5:42 pm on 25th March 2019.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 5:42 pm, 25th March 2019

No, I will not give way, because I want to try to give my hon. Friend Sir William Cash the short answer that I promised him a second ago.

The purpose of the statutory instrument is to reflect the extension agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The Government will now therefore delay the commencement of the repeal of the European Communities Act. A commencement order is required under section 25(4) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act to give effect to this repeal. The timing of that commencement order will depend on the date on which we leave the European Union. As a matter of both EU and international law, the effect of the European Council decision is that we are not leaving European Union on 29 March. It would therefore be wrong to commence the repeal contained in section 1 of the withdrawal Act on that date. In making that change, having sought an extension, the Government have acted on the basis of the resolutions that were passed by this House. The House did not want to leave on 29 March without a deal, and it explicitly voted in favour of the Government seeking an extension to article 50.