Topical Questions

Part of Exiting the European Union – in the House of Commons on 5th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

First, as I said in my previous answer, there has been no rowing back from the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, which is an area of common accord between us. Secondly, the reason I pointed towards north-south co-operation is that, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be well aware, the Prime Minister drew a distinction in the letter to President Tusk between the backstop and the Northern Ireland protocol. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will also know that, while the two terms are often used interchangeably in the Chamber, there is a distinction between them, particularly on the basis that the north-south co-operation, the common travel area and the benefits of the single electricity market are distinct from the points in terms of alignment.

As for his further question around the legally operative text, I addressed that point to some extent in my remarks in the Chamber yesterday in that there is a distinction between the European Commission saying that all aspects need to be set out in a legally operative text by 31 October and looking at, for example, what role the joint committee will have during the implementation period, because the implementation period means that things need to be in place by the end of December 2020 or, if extended by mutual agreement, for one or two further years. It is therefore within that that there is a distinction to be drawn.