Urgent question by Jeremy Corbyn on Withdrawal Bill and extension letter

21 October 2019

Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, asked an urgent question on the publication of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and the extension letter to the European Council.

On Saturday 19 October, the House of Commons voted to approve the amended motion on the new Brexit deal agreed between the UK Government and the EU. The Government was subsequently required to ask for an extension of Article 50 under the Benn Act and set out how it intends to proceed.

In response to the urgent question on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) and extension letter, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay said:

"In respect to the Prime Minister's letter to President Tusk of the 19th of October, this was sent in compliance with Section one of the Benn Act. The President of the European Council has accepted the request as valid and indicated that he is considering it and consulting with Member states."

The Leader of the Opposition responded:

"I would like to welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has sent a letter over the weekend to the EU President Donald Tusk, to comply with the EU Withdrawal (No.2) Act. Mr Speaker, as we've come to expect with this Prime Minister this has been done with posturing and attempts to distract, but despite having told the British public over and over again he would never do it, the letter has in fact been sent. The request is not only legally necessary, and prevents us crashing out of the EU with no deal, but the extension allows this House the space to scrutinise the Prime Minister's Brexit deal."

"Mr Speaker, the European Commission has confirmed today that Brussels is now considering the terms of an extension. Can the Secretary of State tell the House when he expects any extension to be granted? And can he categorically rule out the absolutely ridiculous reports yesterday that Conservative MPs are trying to amend the law to jail Members of Parliament alleged to have colluded with foreign powers."

Image: UK Parliament

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