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Leaving the European Union - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:23 pm on 26th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lord Wallace of Saltaire Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 5:23 pm, 26th November 2018

The Minister has just sketched out the enormous agenda that we had to negotiate with the European Union in 21 months, with a Government that seem to still be unprepared and divided as to what they want. The Statement says:

“Both sides are committed to making preparations for an immediate start to the formal negotiations after our withdrawal”.

There are European elections next May and then a change of Commission, which means that there will be four or five months in which the European Union will not be in a fit state to negotiate. We lost three months last year by having an election. Do we anticipate that we really can begin to negotiate with a clear mandate from our side as well before the end of next year?