European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Part of Prime Minister’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 1:56 pm on 19th October 2019.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 1:56 pm, 19th October 2019

For me, this has been quite a long journey. I want to say straightaway and very simply, having given a great deal of consideration to the issues discussed in the past few weeks and having had the opportunity to discuss them with Ministers, in No. 10, in our groups and in various other places, that I have come to the conclusion that we must support this deal.

I would go further, though I say this with great concern and respect for the DUP, because I know that elements of the deal do fall short—I still regard article 4 as a serious problem. I am glad that the Prime Minister responded as he did today with a personal assurance that he would ensure that parliamentary sovereignty was recognised in the Bill, notwithstanding the provisions that otherwise apply under the withdrawal agreement and article 4. Furthermore, he guaranteed that, where the vital interests of this country were affected, the European Scrutiny Committee would have the opportunity to ensure that the House could consider and vote on questions that so arise. I will not enlarge on that now because it has not been entirely finalised—the Bill has not been published—but there are signs of very great progress in that regard. This is about the principle of sovereignty and consent.

I also believe that Northern Ireland will benefit if the Select Committee procedures are followed along the lines I am proposing. Northern Ireland Members could give evidence to the Committee about how this is operating for them, and then, assuming all goes well with the Bill, there could be an opportunity for a vote on the Floor of the House. I wanted to make that point clear now because this is an historic moment, and a moment we have to seize. Let us get out on 31 October—no second referendum, no revocation of article 50. Let us get Brexit done, have a general election and sort this out once and for all.