Iain Duncan Smith questions the Brexit Secretary on the proposed EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill

13th November 2017

Iain Duncan Smith questions the Government about the consequences of Parliament failing to support the deal negotiated between the UK and the European Union.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend in being clear in his statement that, come 29 March 2019, as we leave the European Union, the European Court of Justice will no longer have direct authority here in the United Kingdom, thus dispelling the games being played out by the Opposition, as we heard this morning.

May I take my right hon. Friend back to what he said in his statement about the Bill and the motion? As I understand it, if we had a motion that was voted on but not passed, that would negate the idea of a Bill that could be amended. If there was a Bill and it was amended—as we were always told throughout the Maastricht negotiations and beyond—an amendment could not be accepted at the end of the day because the agreement would already have been made and thus an amendment would alter the agreement. Does not that potentially lead us into a situation in which we have a Bill that changes the agreement, but the other side does not wish to make those changes?

With respect to the first half of my right hon. Friend’s question, if the original motion is put but not passed, the deal falls—full stop; in toto. He is quite right about the second part, but he will remember the Maastricht Bill and, as I remember it, there were quite a lot of amendments and quite a lot of votes on it. The House was able to express its view, but it did so in the light of the consequences.

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