Anne Main questions supporters of Amendment 7 to Clause 9 of the Brexit Bill

13th December 2017

Speaking in a debate on Amendment 7 to Clause 9 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, Anne Main questions the assertion that the need for Parliament to approve the final deal will assist negotiations with the EU.

Speaking after the debate, Anne said:

“I voted with my government to deliver the wishes of the British people.

“I genuinely feel that the amendment was unhelpful.  When I pressed the honourable member for Rhondda in the chamber he couldn’t provide a satisfactory answer as to what the fall-back position would be.

“It does not appear to me that it is a good negotiation strategy to constrain the government in this way. If parliament rejects the deal and 27 member states reject the new terms, the only option would be the no-deal scenario.

“This is simply the committee stage of the bill.  There will be plenty of time yet for further scrutiny, before the bill is passed by the house.”


I am listening to the hon. Gentleman’s argument with great interest, because I was waiting for the “or”. He has just asserted what would happen if we did not have a good deal, Parliament rejected it and the negotiators were sent back, but then what? If it is felt that the best deal has been offered, what is his fall-back procedure? We would leave with no deal whatsoever.

Obviously, if the Government cannot get their deal through Parliament, they may be in trouble. That is a certain truth. However, if the Government get nearly all their deal but key amendments are carried by the House—for instance, on immigration, the financial deal or the rights of EU citizens in this country or elsewhere—we could help to strengthen the Government’s arm, not weaken it at all. When I was Europe Minister, my experience was that when something was on the table in Brussels that I disagreed with and did not want to see implemented, the strongest argument I had with Brussels was, “I won’t be able to get that through the British Parliament.” If we have a system in which a deal does not have to go through the British Parliament in line-by-line detail, the Government will be weakened in the negotiating process.

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