Backbench Business

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:48 pm on 20th April 2017.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service) 3:48 pm, 20th April 2017

I say to the hon. Gentleman that in saying I will not prejudge what the negotiations may bring, I mean that I am not going to prejudge what the negotiations may bring. My own experience of negotiations —in Government, as an MP and before that in my life—is that it is always difficult to prejudge a negotiation. That is not only because we do not want to give away to our opposite numbers in those negotiations what we are looking for, what we want to do and what our position is, but because things develop and change. We have to be able to consider what the right situation is.

What we have been very clear about—the hon. Member for West Ham touched on this, and I think that the right hon. Member for Leicester East also mentioned it—is the priority when the House returns. I would gently point out that one of the very first debates we had, some months ago—I opened it and I think the hon. Lady responded to it—was on law enforcement, linked into us leaving the European Union, and there will no doubt be more such debates. Those debates, which include today’s debate, all feed in comments and views from hon. Members and hon. Friends, which will form part of the work we are doing as we consider what is possible and what is right for our country and our European partners, as we negotiate to make sure that we keep everybody safe.

It would be wrong to prejudge where we will get to, however, for all those reasons and not least because these negotiations are yet to start and we must ensure that we get the best deal for this country without prejudging what that may be.