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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Committee (7th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 14th March 2018.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 4:15 pm, 14th March 2018

If my noble friend will forgive me, I will concentrate on the amendments before us and leave this existential debate for my two noble friends on the Back Benches to conduct among themselves.

The approval of the UK’s final deal with the EU has already been the focus of a great deal of sustained debate during the passage of both the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act and this Bill. The Government have committed to hold a vote on the final deal in Parliament as soon as possible after the negotiations have concluded. Let me say, in direct response to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, and the noble Baroness, Lady McDonagh, that this vote will take the form of a resolution in both Houses of Parliament and will cover both the withdrawal agreement and the terms of our future relationship. The Government will not implement any parts of the withdrawal agreement until after this vote has taken place.

As we have repeatedly made clear, we fully expect, intend and will make every effort that this vote will take place before the European Parliament votes. However, I hope noble Lords will understand that we do not control the EU’s timeframe for approving the withdrawal agreement and therefore cannot make any statutory assurances where it is concerned. This would be the case with Amendment 150 tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, Amendment 151 tabled by my noble friend Lord Cormack and Amendment 216 tabled by my noble friend Lord Hailsham.