European Council - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:20 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Chair, International Relations Committee 3:20 pm, 11th April 2019

My Lords, this is welcome breathing space. We know that the withdrawal agreement is fixed and cannot be opened, but the cross-party talks have shown differences about the political declaration. Would my noble friend like to have a shot at explaining to some of us the difference between the withdrawal agreement, which offers a transition customs union followed by a customs arrangement, and a permanent customs union? As I understand it, the Labour Party wants a permanent customs union. In practice, what is the difference between the two? Are we ever in practice going to see any agreement from Her Majesty’s Opposition? Their job is to oppose. Why should they ever agree with us? That is not their main motive at all.