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Main power in connection with other separation issues

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) 1:45 pm, 8th January 2020

I am happy to take interventions as I address the amendments; perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will let me move on to that first.

I agree with what Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson said in an intervention about the importance of every part of the UK being heard. I recognise that many of the amendments are focused on securing Northern Ireland’s interests in the next phase of the Brexit process, and we absolutely recognise the support they have received from across the Northern Ireland business and political community. If and when the Executive is restored, the UK Government will be ready to consider commitments concerning the Executive’s role in future discussions with the European Union and to engage with them as we safeguard Northern Ireland’s integral place in the UK. The Government cannot accept any of the amendments to the clauses that implement the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, for a number of reasons.

First, let me address new clauses 14, 15, 39 and 40, all tabled by the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley, as well as new clauses 63 and 13. At the outset, I should confirm that the protocol does not affect the constitutional status of Northern Ireland, which remains part of our political and economic union.