Thank you for contacting me about parliamentary approval of the final terms for leaving the EU.
The Government has announced that a new Bill will be introduced to implement the withdrawal agreement so that the deal that the UK reaches with the EU can be put directly into UK domestic law. This includes the agreement reached on citizens’ rights, any financial settlement and the implementation period.
This also means that Members of Parliament in the House of Commons and Members of the House of Lords will be able to debate, scrutinise and vote on the final agreement made with the EU. The commitment provided to both Houses of Parliament that they will have a meaningful vote on the final deal will not be affected. This will take place as soon as the deal agreed and before the European Parliament votes on it. There can be no doubt that Parliament will have a full opportunity to have its say on the final agreement.
This Bill is also important for the Committee Stage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. This is currently being scrutinised by the House of Commons. Powers in EU (Withdrawal) Bill will, if necessary, be used to make more technical changes that are appropriate for secondary legislation. The exact details of the UK’s withdrawal arrangements are still subject to negotiation with the EU, which is why it is important to press ahead with the EU (Withdrawal) Bill and ensure that the UK’s exit is delivered in a smooth and orderly way.
The Government has listened and will continue to listen to suggestions from Members of Parliament to improve the legislation relating to the UK’s exit from the EU. Legislators should work together to ensure that the UK can pursue a smooth and stable exit from the EU. This is in everyone’s interest.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has now been invoked and there is a two year period in which to agree a withdrawal deal. EU law is clear that if a withdrawal agreement is not reached by the end of this period, the withdrawing country will simply leave the EU without any deal.
It is also not within the power of the UK Government to unilaterally extend the negotiating period. EU law states that this period can only be extended with the unanimous agreement of the remaining member states of the EU and it may well not be in the gift of the Government to fulfil it.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.