Amendment 38

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill - Committee (3rd Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 2:45 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education 2:45 pm, 16th January 2020

I entirely accept what the noble Baroness says but the key principle here is that we cannot offer a blank cheque in the withdrawal Bill to say that we will automatically join a new programme where the details have still not been agreed. However, none of the mood music coming out, including what the Prime Minister said only 24 hours ago, suggests that we are going to turn our backs on the educational institutions of Europe. We want to be part of it. We are in a rapidly globalising world but the point that I want to make to everyone is that we cannot continue to slavishly focus on the EU. This is why we had the referendum and why, at the 2017 election, the manifestos of 85% of MPs supported leaving. We then had three years of chaos in Parliament and now we finally have a decent mandate to do it. That does not mean that we flounce out of Europe, or that we leave the culture and institutions of Europe. I am sure that we will work proactively to maintain close links.