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Section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019

Part of Exiting the European Union (Sanctions) – in the House of Commons at 4:03 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union) 4:03 pm, 9th April 2019

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend. Events have clearly overtaken us since the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019 was first conceived, with the Prime Minister having already written to the President of the European Council indicating her intention to seek an extension until 30 June. As I have said, we wholeheartedly support the Government’s efforts to secure one; indeed, that is vital if we are to avoid a disastrous no deal. We would expect the Government to agree to any reasonable extension beyond 30 June, and the Opposition would support accepting that proposition.

As we have argued consistently, however, any extension must be for a worthwhile purpose, and the length of the extension must flow from that purpose. The public will not forgive the Government if an extension is sought and agreed under the pretence of efforts to secure cross-party compromise, but for Ministers then to use the time secured in a vain attempt to find a way to force this House to accept the same flawed deal that has been voted down on three occasions.