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Brexit: Negotiations - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:28 pm on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Falkner of Margravine Baroness Falkner of Margravine Liberal Democrat 4:28 pm, 3rd October 2019

My Lords, the Prime Minister has said that this is a final offer. Does the Minister agree that, while it may be the final offer from the UK, it is the beginning of a fresh negotiation? It is profoundly important for the Government to keep that in mind and be prepared to make further compromises against the framework of what they have outlined.

In light of that, coming back to the principle of consent, I would like to put a proposition to the Minister that is very much in keeping with the reservations that several noble Lords have addressed today. Instead of having a tight four-year framework in which issues are debated again and again, and with a limited mandate—as pointed out by the noble Baroness, Lady Armstrong—would the Government be prepared to consider a longer timeframe, potentially of seven to 10 years? I accept that the Minister is not going to take part in negotiations from these Benches, but, in the absence of that, perhaps the Government can look at the provisions of the European Union Act 2011, where it was intended to consult the people only when there was a significant change in the transfer of powers to the EU. Perhaps a similar formula could be employed to gain consent. Significant regulatory change or dealignment from either the United Kingdom or the EU might be the only circumstances under which the consent formula would kick in again. In other words, continue with the framework at the point of departure, of Brexit, and make changes only when a certain threshold has been achieved.