Amendment 5

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 8th April 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 4:15 pm, 8th April 2019

As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, was kind enough to point out, I have not benefited from the disadvantages of a legal education, but I think I do know flawed and badly drafted legislation when I see it. Nevertheless, it remains the reality that this has been approved by the House of Commons, and that is a principle that I believe should be respected. Noble Lords opposite can be assured that I will remind them of their newfound enthusiasm to respect the will of the House of Commons when we come to future legislation.

I will comment first on the amendments. As my noble friend the Leader of the House said, the Government support Amendment 5, moved by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith. This seeks to remove Clause 1(6) and (7) from the Bill. As currently drafted, should the European Council propose a different date to extend Article 50 from that agreed in Parliament by virtue of approval of the Motion as set out in the Bill, the Bill would require the Prime Minister to return to the House of Commons on 11 April and put the EU’s counterproposal to that House for approval through a further Motion. As the Government set out last week, we have very real concerns about how that would work in practice.

The Government hope that Amendment 7 will also be successful, which would allow us to reach agreement with the EU on Wednesday, so long as that extension ends no later than 22 May. The Government have been clear, as I said earlier, that we are seeking an extension to 30 June.

In response to the question posed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, and the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, scheduling of any further debates after the European Council on 10 April is a matter for the other place. I am sure it is paying close attention to our debates.