I have had a number of constituents contact me about parliamentary approval of the final terms for leaving the EU.

In the run up to the debates on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, I took the view that Parliament needed a say on the country's withdrawal from the EU. The Government agreed and promised that there would be frequent reports to Parliament during the negotiations - as it has already provided in the run up to the negotiations.

I was also glad to learn that the final deal would be put to a vote in the House of Commons and the House of Lords before it is concluded. Parliament will be able to accept the deal or not. I expect this vote to take place before the European Parliament votes on the agreement. The Government has also made clear that there will be a significant amount of legislation passing through Parliament during the process of exiting the EU. Parliament will be able to debate, scrutinise and vote on these important decisions. This means that MPs will have their say at every stage.

I do not believe, however, that giving Parliament the power to send Britain back to the negotiating table would be helpful. It would undermine the country's negotiating position and deliver a worse deal. For these reasons, I did not believe that new clause 99 or the House of Lords amendment was necessary, and I did not support them.

Once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked, there is a two year period in which to agree a withdrawal deal. EU law is clear that if a withdrawal agreement is not reached by the end of this period, the withdrawing country will simply leave the EU without any deal.

It is also not in the hands of the UK Government to unilaterally extend the negotiating period. EU law states that this period can only be extended with the unanimous agreement of the remaining member states of the EU. As such, I did not believe that new clause 54 provided any further benefit to the UK and it may well not be in the gift of the Government to fulfil it. As such, I did not support putting it into law.


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