Brexit: Preparations and Negotiations - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:36 pm on 23rd July 2018.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 11:36 pm, 23rd July 2018

I was going to mention the noble Lord as responsible for renaming it as the people’s vote in a worthy spin operation, but perhaps he was not involved. I apologise.

The Government’s position remains unchanged, noble Lords will not be surprised to hear, from the time of the first referendum. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky—to mention him—and others that it is essential for our democracy that we respect the result of the referendum. I am pleased to say that this appears to be a position that we share with the Labour Party. Last week the Huffington Post reported that the shadow Foreign Secretary categorically ruled out a second Brexit referendum. She said that,

“we went ahead and had a referendum and we lost it and overwhelmingly, above everything else, we are Democrats, so we have to do as instructed”.

On this one occasion, I agree with Emily.

Furthermore, in response to points made by the noble Lords, Lord Wigley and Lord Kerr, let me make it clear that we will not be seeking an extension of Article 50. We are leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 and we will deliver the necessary legal framework in time.

The Government are delivering a principled and practical Brexit. For our economy, we are developing a deep trading relationship with the EU; for our security, we are building on our close co-operation with the EU to keep all of our citizens safe; for our communities, we are ending free movement and responding to concerns raised during the referendum; for our union, we are meeting our commitments to Northern Ireland, and for our democracy, we are restoring sovereignty to this Parliament. For the UK’s place in the world as a champion of democracy and free trade, we are building on progress made so far in negotiations and the ambitious and credible proposals in our future relationship White Paper and must now redouble our efforts to achieve a sustainable and lasting settlement with our European partners.