Brexit: Proposed UK–EU Security Treaty (European Union Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:07 pm on 16th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Ladyton Lord Browne of Ladyton Labour 8:07 pm, 16th January 2019

My Lords, I am reluctant to intervene on the Minister—I think we are all conscious of the time—but I have been listening carefully to what she has said, and she seems to have represented the provisions of the political declaration as being agreed. I am not going to go through all its paragraphs but I have copied down three active verbs from three of them, and they are very important. One of them is “consider further”, one is,

“work together to identify the terms for the United Kingdom’s cooperation”,

and the third is “consider how”, and whether,

“the United Kingdom could contribute”.

To me, that does not imply or state agreement on anything; it just says, “We can talk about these things”. They are all aspirational. Nothing is agreed and, set against Michel Barnier’s clear and specific speech in Vienna in June last year, it cannot be agreed. Some of the issues that the Minister has suggested can be agreed cannot legally be agreed by the EU because we are not part of the ecosystem.