Eu: Withdrawal and Future Relationship (Motions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:21 pm on 27th March 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:21 pm, 27th March 2019

As the Leader of the House set out earlier, the options that the House considers this evening should be deliverable, but it is clear that a number of them fall short of that test—[Interruption.] Well, motions (H) and (O) are just two examples. As the shadow Secretary of State, Keir Starmer, said earlier, there are 47 Back Benchers wishing to speak, and he and I have had quite a few opportunities to debate these issues, so, like him, I will try to keep my comments short this afternoon.

I want to reaffirm that it remains the Government’s priority to secure approval of the withdrawal agreement this week to allow us to leave the EU in an orderly fashion—while noting your earlier comments, Mr Speaker. It is only by doing this that we can be guaranteed to leave the EU on 22 May and not face a cliff edge in two weeks’ time. To maximise our ability to secure that approval, the Government will later today table a motion for the House to sit this Friday. This will be taken as the last order of business tomorrow, and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House will confirm the business for Friday in her business statement tomorrow morning. I appreciate that this might cause some inconvenience, but I hope that all Members will agree that it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Turning to the specific motions before the House, I shall start with motion (B), tabled by my hon. Friend Mr Baron, which seeks to leave on the basis of no deal. He will be aware that the House has already voted, on Wednesday 13 March, on leaving on a no-deal basis. It remains the Government’s priority to have a deal and a trading relationship with the European Union, as was set out by the official leave campaign.