Brexit: European Union-derived Rights - Motion to Resolve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 4th April 2017.

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Photo of Lord Pannick Lord Pannick Crossbench 7:15 pm, 4th April 2017

My Lords, it is a pleasure to attend the latest meeting of the House of Lords Brexit club. The agenda bears a striking resemblance to our last meeting on 13 March, but there is a reason for that—the issues on the agenda were not satisfactorily resolved when we last met.

I want briefly to comment on the second Motion. We all agree, I think, that at some stage in the next two years the Government are going to reach a deal with our EU partners, or they will decide that we will leave the EU with no agreement. The Prime Minister, we all agree, has promised that an agreement would be put to a vote in both Houses. The Prime Minister has made no promise—there is no undertaking if there is no agreement—but noble Lords from the government side and from all around the House told this House that it was inevitable in practice that a decision to leave the EU with no agreement would be put to a vote in Parliament.

A number of difficult questions were posed by noble Lords as to the procedures that will be adopted when we come to the crunch point and when Parliament is asked to vote. I certainly was unable to answer those difficult questions and, more importantly, the Minister, with all his expertise, experience, wisdom and foresight, was unable to answer those difficult questions. Surely on a matter of such significance to the future of the United Kingdom we would all benefit from some mature consideration—before we come to the beginning of the end game—by a Joint Committee which can assist this House and the other place, the Government, the Opposition and all Back-Benchers.