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Queen’s Speech - Debate (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:50 pm on 28th June 2017.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 10:50 pm, 28th June 2017

My Lords, it is an honour, even at this hour, to be asked to speak in support of Her Majesty’s gracious Speech. I thank noble Lords for the many valuable contributions made in the debate this evening. Her Majesty the Queen underlined the core principles of the Government’s programme of legislation on, and their approach to, exiting the European Union in the gracious Speech:

“my Government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union. My Ministers are committed to working with Parliament, the devolved Administrations, business and others to build the widest possible consensus on the country’s future outside the European Union”.

My noble friend Lady Anelay spoke in the opening of this debate on the context and substance of this legislation as the centrepiece of the Government’s extensive legislative programme to support our exit from the EU. These issues have been discussed with clarity, eloquence and in detail not only today but on previous occasions. I will not seek to repeat all the points that have been raised, but I will summarise certain issues. First, the Government have made clear that we must respect the will of the British people expressed in the referendum last year: we will be leaving the European Union.

I have great admiration for the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, particularly for his candour. He said in terms that a terrible mistake had been made and that we should simply not leave.