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.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Oliver Letwin Oliver Letwin Conservative, West Dorset 8:00 pm, 3rd April 2019

I apologise for continuing a triangular discussion through my hon. Friend, but in response to the point made by my hon. Friend Michael Tomlinson, I think that the answer is actually no. The prerogative power is subject to statutory limitation. This Bill would limit statutorily the prerogative power in that respect. We can know that for sure because that is the view of the Government lawyers. Government amendment 22 seeks to reintroduce the prerogative power because the Government recognise—this is the discussion that I have been having with the Government during the course of the day—that the Bill currently limits the prerogative power.

There is a choice for the House. We may obviously take different views about how to make that choice, but just as a matter of plain fact, there is a choice to be made. One option is the position advocated by my hon. Friend George Eustice, which is one of reinstating the full prerogative power. That could otherwise be achieved by Government amendment 22, so there are two ways to do that. The other option, which I would prefer, is to limit that prerogative power by statute so that the House has the ability to constrain, to some degree, what the Prime Minister accepts by way of an extension from the EU.