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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 1:24 pm, 22nd October 2019

For the clarification of the right hon. Gentleman—I know he realises this already—there are no checks GB-NI. There will be some light touch measures to ensure there is no illegal trade—[Laughter.]—in endangered animal species and banned firearms, which I think he would agree was sensible. The most important point is that even these measures evaporate and are terminated automatically. They automatically dissolve unless a majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont votes to keep them.

Furthermore, to get to the right hon. Gentleman’s point, there is a further sense in which these measures are transitory. They all may be replaced in the great work of beginning the free trade agreement and the new partnership that we intend to build between the UK and the EU—a work in which I devoutly hope Northern Irish Members will be involved in building a whole UK-whole world free trade policy. That is the prize before us. The UK, and the UK alone, will control these vital standards as we leave.

For those who share my belief in the transformative power of free trade, perhaps the single greatest engine of global prosperity, a new deal, enabled by this Bill, will allow us to sign free trade agreements around the world.