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Jonathan Djanogly: Article 50 means we will leave EU, debate is about UK’s internal process

13th December 2017

Jonathan Djanogly intervenes during the 7th day of debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to make the point that Article 50 commits us to leaving the EU, this Bill is about UK’s internal process on implementing that.

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con)

Is not the point that, everything else being equal, even if nothing else happens, article 50 has been triggered so we are leaving the European Union on a set date, unless 27 other countries decide to extend the date? Therefore, this argument is about the UK’s internal process. It is not a question of the EU or anyone else holding things up.

Mr Grieve

There are a series of processes. I do not wish to get too diverted from my main point. We are intending, and will require, a further statute in order to achieve what the Government have set out. I hope very much that we do not leave with a no deal on anything, because we would not be able to fly off to Rome on the day after, we would have no security co-operation and we would, indeed, be mired in complete and utter chaos.

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Mr Djanogly

My right hon. Friend will be aware that all parties are aiming for next October for the negotiation of the final deal, but the Secretary of State has said that he will keep negotiating until March 2019 and that, if necessary, he will go on after that into the implementation period, so there should be time one way or another.

Sir Oliver Letwin

I agree with my hon. Friend. There may well be time; I am not in any way denying that. The point I was trying to make is that Labour Members have alleged that it is proper for Parliament to be able to have what they have described as a meaningful vote. They have made it perfectly clear that what they mean by a meaningful vote includes the ability to tell the Government that they cannot continue to leave the European Union if the terms on which they wish to leave are not acceptable to Parliament. That is a logical fact, and people can agree with it or disagree with it. I do not in any way impugn the motives of Labour Members; it is a perfectly reasonable thing for them to think. It is just that we ought to be honest about the fact that that is the proposition they are putting forward, which is in marked contrast to the point made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield in his amendment 7.

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