European Council

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:43 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Reform and Constitutional Issues), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit), DUP Westminster Leader 1:43 pm, 11th April 2019

Until yesterday, the EU was saying very clearly that unless there was a credible plan for an election or a referendum, or a prospect of getting the withdrawal agreement through soon, it would not grant an extension, and that if it did, there would be stringent conditions. In fact, it held to neither of those statements. When it was faced with the unpalatable choice of a no deal, it backed down. Will the Prime Minister learn the lesson of that? She continues to reiterate what the EU has said about the withdrawal agreement, and to praise her withdrawal agreement, but she, and the rest of the Government Front Bench, voted for changes to the backstop and the withdrawal agreement, and the Attorney General, in his devastating critique of it, said that it had not changed the fundamentals of what had been agreed. Will she please examine where she is going with all this, learn the lessons, and come back with something that can actually secure a majority in the House?

On the issue of extensions, will the Prime Minister also bear in mind that the current Session of Parliament is—I understand—due to end fairly soon? There is some talk of extending it beyond two years. I think that many in the House, including those on this Bench, would consider that unacceptable.