European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:50 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:50 pm, 4th September 2019

The hon. Gentleman says this is about trust in this Prime Minister, but he voted against the deal that the previous Prime Minister brought back three times. The trust is lacking in those who trusted the Labour manifesto that promised to respect the referendum result.

It is worth looking at the communiqué issued by the Commission at lunch time. I am sure Members will have read it and seen, first, very little detail on the Irish border, and, secondly, that the Commission’s objective in a no-deal situation would be

“a more stable solution for the period thereafter.”

So the Commission’s own communiqué falls short of the demand for an all-weather, all-insurance, legally operative text, which is the condition it has set the United Kingdom. The legal text by 31 October will of course set out the detail, but the test needs to be one that involves creativity and flexibility on both sides. It also needs to reflect the fact that the operational detail will be shaped by the Joint Committee during the implementation period. An illustration of that point can be seen in the response to the detail presented by the previous Government. Mr Hammond spoke about his concerns about the detail, but he will remember that when the previous Government simply presented detail against that all-weather test, the Commission dismissed it as purely magical thinking.