Brexit: Article 50 Period Extension Procedure - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:58 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 6:58 pm, 18th March 2019

My Lords, with the leave of the House I shall now repeat in the form of a Statement the Answer to an Urgent Question given earlier today in another place by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, the Member for Spelthorne. The Statement is as follows:

“Mr Speaker, as set out in a Written Ministerial Statement and in accordance with the Motion approved by this House on 14 March, the Government will now seek to agree an extension with the European Union. The extension process has been set out in a government paper, published last Thursday. While Article 50 does not set out how either party should request an extension, the Government believe that it would be appropriate for the Prime Minister to write to the President of the European Council.

It is highly likely, and expected, that the European Council will require clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length. The European Council also has to approve an extension by unanimity. With this in mind, we will look to request any extension in advance of the March European Council. It is the Government’s expectation that the European Council will decide whether to agree to any UK request at this meeting.

As soon as possible, following agreement at the EU level, we will bring forward the necessary domestic legislation to amend the definition of “exit day”. That legislation will take the form of a statutory instrument. If agreement is reached at the European Council, the statutory instrument will be laid in Parliament next week. It will be subject to the draft affirmative procedure and will need to be approved by each House. I hope that this reassures honourable and right honourable Members about the procedure that will be followed this week and next”.