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Duties in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 6:45 pm, 4th September 2019

I will come to the right hon. Lady in a moment, but I will just address my hon. Friend’s intervention. It is the case that the talks with the official Opposition were done in good faith on both sides. There were areas of genuine misunderstanding, such as about the appetite of the Government through the political declaration to participate, for example, in EU agencies. Perhaps at the start of the talks there was some genuine misunderstanding about that. However, as I set out at the start of those talks, if the purpose of those talks was to seek a second referendum, one only needed to look at the Kyle-Wilson amendment to see that the talks were not necessary. If we look at the way the talks collapsed, it was on the basis that the position of my shadow and opposite number—he is someone of great integrity, and I respect his position—is one of seeking a second referendum. If that was genuinely the crux of his concern, surely that was self-evident at the start of those talks, and it was not necessary for those talks to progress in order to tease out that point.