14 March 2019
Iain Duncan Smith raises the chaos that would result if the UK were to extend Article 50 to after the European Parliament election

Iain Duncan Smith says the EU will not want the UK to extend Article 50 beyond the European Parliament election as we would have to take part in those elections and then leave the EU. This would result in the European Parliament being unconstituted.

Mr Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)

My right hon. Friend is right about the chaos that would be caused. The Legal Service has also made it clear that, if we extended and thus had to fight the elections and we subsequently left, the European Parliament would be left unconstituted, because there would be no mechanism to change the numbers that had been set. The EU does not want to go down that road so my right hon. Friend is quite right.

Mr Lidington

My right hon. Friend is right. I do not detect from my conversations in Strasbourg much enthusiasm among Members of the European Parliament for another contingent of British MEPs to be there, especially if that was only on a temporary basis.