Brexit: Article 50 Period Extension Procedure - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:59 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 6:59 pm, 18th March 2019

Well, I think we all feel rather sorry for the Minister, who has, after all, said again and again that we will leave on 29 March and now knows that we will not—and that is because of the Prime Minister’s failed strategy of running down the clock to get her own way.

We are told that, if the Government are allowed to table the existing deal yet again in the Commons and it wins approval—the Speaker has just suggested that he is not minded to permit a third meaningful vote without a substantial change to the deal; we hear that perhaps we will have to prorogue and then come back—they will apply for an extension to 30 June.

The more likely eventuality is that the Government will fail to get their deal agreed and thus request a longer extension, such that we will need to participate in the European Parliament elections. Given that returning officers must publish notice of the poll by 12 April, with the Government announcing the date beforehand, can the Minister inform the House which date is planned for these elections, whether the Electoral Commission is geared up for this and when purdah will commence?