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Interpretation

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 6:45 pm, 8th January 2020

Later in my speech, I will highlight areas where we are going to go further. Perhaps I will give way to the hon. Gentleman again at that point if what I say does not give him sufficient reassurance. The Government are committed to delivering high standards, and I will provide a bit more detail when I come to talk about other clauses.

I turn to new clauses 3, 8 and 30, which relate to alignment with or continued membership of the EU single market and customs union. I am grateful for the confirmation that new clause 8 is a probing amendment. The Prime Minister has set out a deal, and the political declaration contains a framework for a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement. The result of the general election shows that, across the whole United Kingdom, the public support that, notwithstanding the points that have been made in the Chamber today about different areas.

That mandate did not include negotiating a customs union or maintaining the UK’s place in the single market, as proposed in the new clauses. The public want us to move on to negotiating the future relationship without any unnecessary hurdles, and that is what the Government will do. Only by leaving the EU customs union and single market will the UK be able to pursue an ambitious free trade agreement and strike new trade deals with new and existing global partners. The political declaration provides a framework for all that.

The political declaration also provides a framework for security co-operation. That will include access to the European arrest warrant, which several colleagues have mentioned, as well as to Europol and SIS II. We have committed to being involved in them, and our European partners have committed to engaging in that through the political declaration.

We have also agreed to put in place a streamlined extradition arrangement, on which we continue to work with Europol and Eurojust. Beyond that, we have agreed to look at further areas of co-operation on the exchange of information. Beyond SIS II, on the broader point raised by the hon. Member for Torfaen, it will also include Icarus.

The detail, however, means this is best done in co-operation over the period. After all, the point of the level playing field is to do this in a paced way. As a cross-cutting Minister, I have engaged on this issue with a number of Ministers who are engaged much more directly. The hon. Gentleman will be reassured as this issue rolls out, but it is not for today’s Bill, although it is a perfectly acceptable placeholder for a probing amendment.

On new clause 29, I make it clear that we want an ambitious future economic partnership with the EU that allows us to control our own laws, with the benefits of trade with other countries around the world. Adopting this amendment would prevent that. Dynamic alignment with future EU rules is not in the best interests of this country. It is here, not in Brussels, where decisions should be made on the laws that govern our country. That point has been ably made by other hon. Members.

We will maintain and uphold high standards for workers, consumers and the environment. We do not have to follow EU rules to achieve that; we can do it on our own. We have made that clear in the revised political declaration and through our commitment to introduce legislation that will enshrine those high standards in our laws.