Topical Questions

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

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

I think the Chair of the Select Committee would concede that, of the holders of my role—I know there has been more than one—I have probably been the most frequent in appearing before his Committee and others. Actually, that is not the case when compared with my right hon. Friend Mr Davis, but it is when compared with my right hon. Friend Dominic Raab, who is now Foreign Secretary.

On the substance of the question, there has been a huge amount of work. My right hon. Friend Mr Dunne asked about the different working groups, for example, and I chair the technical working group. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union chairs the business group, and he was in Northern Ireland with that group over the summer.

Again, it goes to the question of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow. Work has been going on throughout the summer on alternative arrangements, but if it is simply published against an all-weather, all-insurance test, it will be dismissed, as it was under the last Government, as magical thinking. That is what the last Government experienced. We need to get into the detail, and that work is going on, but it needs to be discussed in the appropriate way.