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Trade Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 4th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench 7:15 pm, 4th February 2019

The Minister is making a very gallant effort and I applaud it. I enjoyed many of the things he said, particularly when he referred to a no-Brexit deal. I thought that was a very encouraging concept. I really cannot let him get away with where he is now, in this fast-moving situation he describes. Put yourself in the place of the EU 27: what are they supposed to think when the Prime Minister scuttles her own fleet? She orders her party to vote down the backstop in the treaty. The backstop is 21 articles, 10 annexes and 172 pages. The Prime Minister’s officials have negotiated that line by line, month by month and it is there because we asked for it. Then she decides that the best thing to do with it is to replace it with alternative arrangements, which are now being devised by Mr Owen Paterson and Mr Stephen Barclay. The Minister tells us that this is a fast-moving situation and it is quite hard to keep up with it, but there is nothing happening in Brussels but sheer astonishment at the failure of our system.