Brexit: European Union-derived Rights - Motion to Resolve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:30 pm on 4th April 2017.

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Photo of Lord Lea of Crondall Lord Lea of Crondall Labour 7:30 pm, 4th April 2017

My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, has raised a key question for the Minister to respond to. The principle of nothing being agreed until everything is agreed is now questionable. There is a contradiction on the reciprocity and simultaneity of citizenship and rights in a document to which Mr Tusk and Mr Barnier are both party. Paragraph 2 states that,

“nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”,

but paragraph 8 states that:

“Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to settle the status and situations at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union will be a matter of priority for the negotiations”.

On the issue of process, one has to conclude that there is confusion about the timescale, not only in the British Government but also—dare I say it—in Brussels. If there is confusion in Brussels, do we write a public letter saying, “Your statement says x, y, z; we say a, b, c”? Is there a protocol that has not been agreed about how these negotiations must be conducted in secret? You cannot have things being agreed ad hoc without some clarity and transparency so that we can all have a look at them. I agree with both Motions, but it is not just a question of nothing happening until the end of two years. I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, who made the same point.