EU Council - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:11 pm on 17th December 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal 7:11 pm, 17th December 2018

I thank the noble Baroness and noble Lord for their comments.

The noble Baroness asked about assurances at this summit. As the Statement made clear, there were a number of assurances in the EU Council conclusions. In particular, there was one new assurance, that the Council,

“stands ready to embark on preparations … to ensure that negotiations”— on the future partnership—

“can start as soon as possible”.

Following the Council, the Prime Minister met with President Macron, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Rutte and Presidents Tusk and Juncker. All were very clear that discussions on clarifications can continue. She will continue to discuss these over the coming days.

The Government understand that both Houses want to move on, which is why the Statement made clear that we intend to start the debate on the meaningful vote in the week commencing 7 January—the first week back after Christmas—and to hold the vote the following week.

The noble Lord asked about timing of a debate in this House. We had this announcement only today, but we will certainly be having discussions with the usual channels in parallel to discussions in the Commons. We have all worked on a cross-party consensus for the arrangement of debates previously. We certainly intend that to continue. We will let noble Lords know the outcome of those discussions as soon as we can.

The noble Lord mentioned again the second referendum. I can only reiterate what the Prime Minister has said, which is that Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for. She remains determined to see that happen.

The noble Baroness asked for a message to be relayed to the Prime Minister. I can certainly assure her that the Prime Minister listens to the views of this House and will continue to do so.