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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

There ain’t no point in having one of these things if it does not have teeth and if it does not bark and have a bit of bite, so I can commit the Government on all those points. The Government are committed to remaining a world-leader in environmental protection once we have left the UK. Leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to put the environment front and centre in our policy making.

New clause 31 relates to the European Medicines Agency and would require the appropriate authority to take the necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement that enables the UK fully to participate in the EMA after Brexit day. This is another issue that we need to consider during the implementation period; it is not for this Bill, which is plainly and simply for getting Brexit done. It is not a Bill on which to hang lots of other things. In its 21 clauses there are many areas of agreement. There are things that we support and things that were in the Queen’s Speech and the Conservative manifesto, but that does not mean that they need to be in this specific Bill.

I thank Sir Edward Davey for tabling new clause 32, on Euratom, but for a number of reasons it is neither practical nor desirable to maintain the UK’s membership when we leave the EU. I am conscious of the time, so as the right hon. Gentleman is not in the Chamber I am happy to write to him to detail the reasons.

I have already outlined a number of points on security, so I shall not detain the Committee with any further discussion of new clause 35.

Let me be very, very clear on new clause 45: the Government have been consistently clear that when we are negotiating trade deals, the NHS will not be on the table; the price that the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table; and the services that the NHS provides will not be on the table.

Let me turn to the associated points on Horizon 2020. I can write to the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon with the detail. I have seen the value of Horizon 2020 and I understand that it is not quite as simple as just the money; it is also about participation, and I know the hon. Lady is passionate about that. There are similar points in relation to Erasmus and the other agencies, so I will not trouble the Committee too much.