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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Kinnock Lord Kinnock Labour 6:00 pm, 8th May 2018

While sharing my noble friend’s admiration for the extraordinary work that has been put in by our Front Bench both here and in the Commons, I remind him of an amendment proposed to the Bill in the House of Commons on 13 December last year, which said explicitly:

“No Minister may, under this Act, notify the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EEA Agreement, whether under Article 127 of that Agreement or otherwise”.

When that amendment went to the vote, there were 292 votes in favour. It was therefore clearly supported by the great majority of Labour Members of Parliament. Was that amendment not a model of cogency and clarity and completely consistent with my noble friend’s amendment this evening? Is it not the most practical way, as he suggests, to avoid the cliff edge of huge and costly disruption to supply chains and loss of access to vital service markets; and, with the customs union, for which this House has voted, to provide us with a real opportunity of a border-free Ireland?