9 April 2019
Iain Duncan Smith seeks clarification on European elections

Speaking in a debate on an extension to Article 50 until 30 June 2019, Iain Duncan Smith seeks clarification of a scenario that would see the UK fight the European elections but the elected MEPs not be allowed to take their seats.

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

I just want to clear up something that I heard my hon. and learned Friend say. I think I heard him say at the Dispatch Box that it was wholly feasible that the Government may actually end up fighting the European elections, then only after that not allow its MEPs to take their seats—say they had been given an extension, but somehow we had managed to ratify the deal. Is that correct? Is it Government policy that we would go as far as to fight an election but not take our seats at the end of it?

The Solicitor General

My right hon. Friend is right to ask about that detail. I think that we are obliged, as a matter of law, to prepare for European elections, but if we have exited the European Union by the end of June, we are no longer a member but a third country. Therefore, the requirement to take our seats in the European Parliament would have ended.