Duties in connection with Article 50 extension

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Chair, Home Affairs Committee 9:00 pm, 8th April 2019

Some people criticised the Bill, but the vast majority of the Lords supported the Bill, which is why we have it back before us now. Parliament has shown in both the Commons and the Lords that it is capable of responding to the gravity and the urgency of the challenge that our country faces and the very immediate risks to jobs, public services and families across the country if we drift. None of us could have imagined that we would be in this situation in the first place. These are unprecedented circumstances, but they should also serve as no precedent for the future when, as we all hope, normality might be restored.

I particularly thank Lord Robertson and Lord Rooker, who sponsored the Bill in the Lords, the Government and Opposition Front Benchers and Cross Benchers, who engaged in thoughtful discussion about these amendments, and Sir Oliver Letwin, who did considerable work to ensure that the amendments would be effective. I said to the Minister, when we were discussing this in Committee, that we were keen to ensure that there was legal clarity for the Prime Minister as she went into the negotiations in the EU Council, and that she would be able to take sensible decisions in the national interest without having to come back to this House in the middle of negotiations—clearly, that would not be in the national interest. I welcome the work that has been done together to ensure that that clarity applies and that the Prime Minister can take those discussions forward.