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No-deal Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 7:15 pm, 3rd September 2019

My noble friend will understand that I view it as a considerable failure that I have not managed to reassure him and contribute to his happiness. I will do my best in the days and weeks ahead to bring that unhappy state of affairs to an end. To be serious, he makes a very valid point about Northern Ireland. We are incredibly conscious of the need to protect the peace process. For the avoidance of any doubt, I restate our total commitment to the Good Friday agreement and our commitment that there will not be a hard border in Northern Ireland; certainly, that will not be imposed by this Government. We are very happy to enter a legal commitment to that effect should it help the negotiations.

The noble Lord also makes a very good point about EU nationals. The settled status scheme that we have introduced has been incredibly successful. I said in the Statement that over a million citizens have applied under that scheme. When I checked last week, applications were running at over 15,000 per day. I do not think anybody has been refused under that scheme. The guarantees we have offered to EU nationals in this country are excellent. We guarantee all their existing rights, including access to healthcare and benefits. It would be nice if EU member states were prepared to offer to UK citizens living in their countries the same guarantees that we have offered. That would help to take the process forward.

Lastly, with regard to publication, we continue to make available a wide range of documentation. If my noble friend wants to consult GOV.UK, he will see the extensive documentation and guidance available for businesses and individuals on all manner of scenarios, with case studies. We will, of course, link this to the publicity campaign to try to make people—businesses, hauliers and others—aware of what they need to do to get ready for Brexit.