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Legislative Proposals: No Withdrawal Agreement

Exiting the European Union – in the House of Commons on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

Whether the Government plan to bring forward legislative proposals to prepare for the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The Government have undertaken extensive work to identify the legislation essential to deliver our exit from the EU. In fact, as I speak, almost all the statutory instruments—93% of them—required for a functioning statute book on exit day have been laid before Parliament.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

The Government have failed to pass the Trade Bill, the Agriculture Bill, the Fisheries Bill, the financial services Bill and the environment Bill, and they have even failed to introduce the EU withdrawal Bill. Does that not show those who think we are ready to leave in a no-deal situation on 12 April that the Government are not prepared for that at all?

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

I reject the assumption behind the question. As I stated, almost all the SIs required—93% of something like 600—have been passed. She is quite right that there are Bills currently in Parliament that are being discussed and that are going through both Houses. All those Bills provide for a range of negotiation outcomes, as she knows, including a no-deal scenario.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

Is it not now inconceivable to pass a meaningful vote before the EU Council next Thursday and therefore unavoidable to seek a lengthy Brexit delay and to hold European Parliament elections?

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Given what we have seen in the past few weeks, I would never use “inconceivable”; anything can happen, as the right hon. Gentleman knows. I am confident that we will get a deal through. I am hopeful of that, because that is the only way that we will get a negotiated and orderly exit from the EU.