Leaving the European Union - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:11 pm on 26th November 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal 5:11 pm, 26th November 2018

I thank the noble Baroness and the noble Lord for their comments. In relation to the noble Baroness’s comments on Gibraltar, we have ensured that Gibraltar is covered by the whole of the withdrawal agreement and implementation period. Our position on Gibraltar’s sovereignty has not changed and will not change. The words of the Chief Minister quoted in the Statement were strong. They showed our commitment to Gibraltar during the negotiations, and that will continue.

This deal will deliver an economic partnership with the EU closer than that enjoyed by any other country, and it will ensure an unprecedented security partnership. It is a good deal and, as Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier have all said, it is the best one available.

The noble Lord, Lord Newby, asked about Galileo. Of course we have been in discussions with the EU about this, but we could not depend on Galileo for defence and security on the basis of the existing and proposed security restrictions for third countries. We are therefore rapidly advancing the development of a domestic system that will fulfil our defence and security needs and support the world-leading British space sector.

The noble Lord also talked about the vote, and of course it will be one of the most significant votes that Parliament has held for many years. However, as the Statement made clear, we do not know what will happen if the deal does not pass. All we do know is that further uncertainty and division would inevitably follow, and I do not believe that any of us wants that for this country.