European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:13 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 3:13 pm, 4th September 2019

If the Bill is passed, the House of Commons will pass it in the knowledge that it is seeking in the circumstances set out an extension to 31 January. If, however, the European Union proposes a different date, it seems to be only right and proper that the Prime Minister should be able to say, either, “Yes, that is fine by me,” or, “I will need to go back and check.” I agree with the hon Gentleman that, of course, we cannot bind the European Union in the way it seeks to work, but it is not at all unusual for member states to say, “Well, we will need to go back and check with our Parliament.” I am certain, given the importance of this issue, that the European Union would be able to find another procedure, which might not involve the European Council meeting again, to confirm the decision it made in making the offer in the first place.

The second point is that the two days is intended precisely to give the Prime Minister the chance to come back to the House in those circumstances.