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 understand the right hon. Lady’s point. I simply say that Sweden, unlike Denmark and the UK, never had an opt-out from joining the euro, but it held a referendum that decided it should not join the euro. As a result, technically speaking, Sweden has been in breach of international law and European law ever since.

It is simply the case that if it were felt necessary to find a way of extending our membership to get the withdrawal agreement through—for a period of one month under amendment 20—I cannot believe it is beyond the wit of man for that to be accommodated, notwithstanding what might be said in some treaty or other. It would not be the first time that the European Union has done this.

As I pointed out earlier, if the Government believe that the treaties are, indeed, inviolable and cannot be changed, even for a period of four weeks, it would be open to them to select a date of 22 May. My amendment is generous in giving them the option, should it be possible to get agreement with the European Union and other parties, to go for a slightly later date.