Duties in connection with Article 50 extension

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice Conservative, Camborne and Redruth 7:45 pm, 3rd April 2019

I simply say to the hon. Gentleman that amendment 20 is generous to the Government and would give them the option, should they believe it necessary under EU law, to set a date of 22 May under subsection (2), but if it were felt necessary by all parties, including the European Union, that—in order to get a withdrawal agreement over the line—an extra month would be needed beyond May, it is not beyond the wit of man to do so and to put arrangements in place so it would not be necessary for us to hold European elections in this country.

I would further contend that one of the biggest problems we have had throughout this negotiation is a tendency to get over-obsessed with the intricacies of so-called European law. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently told me of a meeting he had had with Ministers from other European countries, at which they made the point that, if the politics require it, it is always possible to amend or disapply European law for the short term, should it be necessary and expedient for all parties, to get a sensible resolution to a difficult crisis.