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Opposition ask about Government's duty in the event of no deal

11 December 2018

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Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Yvette Cooper, asked an urgent question about the Government's duty under Section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act if no deal is reached by the 21 January 2019.

Labour MP, Yvette Cooper, asked an urgent question on the Government's duty under Section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act if no deal is reached by the 21 January 2019.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Exiting the EU, Robin Walker, responded on behalf of the Government:

"I recognise that this question was the subject of much discussion and some speculation yesterday, so I hope to be able to put the minds of the right hon. Lady and other hon. Members at ease.

Put simply, in keeping with the clear intention of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the Government will ensure that the question whether to accept an agreement is brought back to this House before 21 January. If Parliament accepts that deal, we will introduce the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill to implement the withdrawal agreement in domestic legislation.

If Parliament were to reject the deal, the Government would be required to make a statement on our proposed next steps and table a motion in neutral terms on that statement. Following the passing of the amendment to the business of the House motion last week, that motion will be amendable. It is our clear intention that this House will consider the matter before 21 January, and have the opportunity to decide on the deal.

Let me also say this clearly: in the unlikely and highly undesirable circumstances that, as of 21 January, there is no deal before the House, the Government would bring a statement to the House and arrange for a debate, as specified by the law.

I am confident that we will have a deal that the House can support. I hope that the statement puts to rest hon. Members' concerns about the Government's commitment to meet the spirit, as well as the letter, of the withdrawal Act, and to respect the will of the House."

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