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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - Report (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood Chair, Sub-Committee on Lords' Conduct 3:30 pm, 8th May 2018

My Lords, I share in full measure the hopes and concerns articulated today by so many of your Lordships. That said, if the amendment is put to the vote, I shall not feel able to support it. My approach to this amendment, as to earlier amendments to the Bill, has been essentially that it is fine to tell the Government what they must do once they have achieved what they regard as the best available deal, but it is not fine to seek to impose on the Government requirements as to precisely what that deal must be or how to achieve it. In other words, we can tell the Government what rights Parliament or, as I promoted, the public should have on a further referendum as to what we can do and should do, by way of approving or rejecting the proposed final deal—or, indeed, a decision to exit with no deal—but we should not seek to bind or inhibit the Government in reaching a deal and so risk weakening their negotiating position.

The Bill is not for that purpose but to keep our statute book intact. I urge your Lordships, rather than indulge all our hopes and wishes in this area, to think about whether we ought to put these explicit requirements into this legislation.