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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Chair, Economic Affairs Committee 6:30 pm, 8th May 2018

My Lords, I feel sometimes in this House that one has wandered into the film “Groundhog Day”; one hears the same arguments over and over again. I thought I might actually address the Bill.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Alli, that I thought we were debating the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which, on my reading, simply seeks to ensure that we have in place the necessary legal framework when we leave the European Union, which the other place voted for overwhelmingly when it agreed that we would give notice under Article 50. I have no idea why an amendment about membership of the EEA has any relevance whatever to the Bill. As the noble Lord, Lord Alli, said, it is the job of this House to ask the House of Commons to think again: but to think again about the legislation we are actually debating, not policy matters which Members of this House do not agree with. That is what the noble Lord is doing.

For brass neck, the noble Lord really takes the prize when he stands up to criticise the Government for not being clear about what they want to achieve. They are pretty clear about it: they want a negotiation which will ensure the best deal for our country. That is not helped by the noble Lords, Lord Alli and Lord Mandelson, and others who are seeking to undermine their negotiating position by passing amendments of this kind.