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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 Lord Hannay of Chiswick Lord Hannay of Chiswick Crossbench 4:28 pm, 3rd October 2019

My Lords, I wonder if the Minister could answer a couple of questions, after one observation, which is that in order to reach a landing zone you have to take off first. The two questions I would like to ask are as follows.

On this vexed issue of consent, I do not want to go into what would happen, but can she confirm that, under the arrangements for government in Northern Ireland, either of the two main parties—Sinn Féin or the DUP—could, during the transitional period or at the moment of the four-year review, frustrate the continuation of the arrangements that have been negotiated, either by opposing them or by bringing down the Government? Could she answer that factual question? It is in the hands of either of them, and I am not pointing the finger at the DUP only, to frustrate the operation of this agreement.

Secondly, the Prime Minister has had quite a lot of Brussels experience—although his misrepresentation of what went on there led one to doubt whether he really understood what was going on—but has he ever in his life seen a process of the sort he is now describing being completed in the time available to this, before 31 October? If not, what does he intend to do about it?