Duties in connection with Article 50 extension

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice Conservative, Camborne and Redruth 8:00 pm, 3rd April 2019

I put on record my enormous respect for my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset. I appreciate that through all the measures that he has tabled, he is trying to deal with the incredibly difficult and complex situation that the country faces. From the time I was first involved with the party, I have worked with him closely. He has been the anchor-man for several leaderships in the Conservative party. Whatever differences Members may have on this issue, he deserves the respect of all Conservative Members.

Amendment 21 would delete subsections (6) and (7) of clause 1, which provide for the House to consider a counter-offer from the European Union. If the Prime Minister were to seek an extension until 30 June 2019 and the European Union made a counter-offer, the question would arise of what should happen next. My contention is that at that point, the Government should bring their own proposals to the House. If the House then felt that it wanted to bind the Government’s hands on what should happen next, that would surely be a matter for a future Bill, given that we have today demonstrated our ability to pass legislation in a speedy and efficient fashion.