European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:05 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 6:05 pm, 3rd April 2019

It sets out that:

“On the day after the day on which this Act receives Royal Assent, the Prime Minister must move a motion in the House of Commons”.

It also provides for the Government to be mandated by what the House has voted for. This is a two-clause Bill and that is all it is; it is very simple. It requires the Prime Minister to put the motion to Parliament proposing an extension of article 50. It asks the Prime Minister to define in the motion the length of the extension. Parliament can debate the motion and can seek to amend it in the normal way, and the conclusion is binding on the Government. The Prime Minister has to take that to the EU. If the EU Council agrees, then that is resolved; if the EU Council proposes a different date, the Bill proposes for the Prime Minister to come back to the House with a new motion.

The Bill simply provides for a simple, practical and transparent process to underpin the Prime Minister’s plan. It ensures that the extension has the support of the House of Commons, but also that we keep the parliamentary safeguard in place. So whatever is agreed by any further talks or indicative processes, or by the Prime Minister’s approach, she herself has said nothing can be implemented by 12 April. She has recognised that she cannot implement anything in only nine days, which is why the extension is needed. This is a hugely important Bill.