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PM statement in the House of Commons: 13 March 2019

Following a vote on a motion to reject the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship, the PM gave the following statement in the House of Commons.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker,

The House has today provided a clear majority against leaving without a deal. However, I will repeat what I have said before. This is about the choices that this House faces. The legal default in UK and EU law remains that the UK will leave the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed. The onus is now on every one of us in this House to find out what that is.

The options before us are the same as they have always been:

  • We could leave with the deal which this Government has negotiated over the past two years.
  • We could leave with the deal we have negotiated but subject to a second referendum. But that would risk no Brexit at all, damaging the fragile trust between the British public and the members of this House.
  • We could seek to negotiate a different deal. However, the EU have been clear that the deal on the table is indeed the only deal available.

Mr Speaker, I also confirmed last night that, if the House declined to approve leaving without a deal on 29 March 2019, the Government would bring forward a motion on whether the House supports seeking to agree an extension to Article 50 with the EU, which is the logical consequence of the votes over the past two days in this House.

The Leader of the House will shortly make an emergency business statement confirming the change to tomorrow’s business. The motion we will table will set out the fundamental choice facing this House.

If the House finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, it would allow the Government to seek a short limited technical extension to Article 50 to provide time to pass the necessary legislation and ratify the agreement we have reached with the EU. But let me be clear, such a short technical extension is only likely to be on offer if we have a deal in place.

Therefore, the House has to understand and accept that, if it is not willing to support a deal in the coming days, and as it is not willing to support leaving without a deal on 29 March, then it is suggesting that there will need to be a much longer extension to Article 50. Such an extension would undoubtedly require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.

I do not think that would be the right outcome. But the House needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken.

PM statement in the House of Commons: 12 March 2019

Following a vote on a motion to accept the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Political Declaration negotiated between the UK and EU, the PM gave the following statement in the House of Commons.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker,

I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight. I continue to believe that by far the best outcome is that the UK leaves the EU in an orderly fashion with a deal, and that the deal we have negotiated is the best and indeed the only deal available.

Mr Speaker, I would like to set out briefly how the Government means to proceed.

Two weeks ago, I made a series of commitments from this despatch box regarding the steps we would take in the event that this House rejected the deal on offer. I stand by those commitments in full. Therefore, tonight we will table a motion for debate tomorrow to test whether the House supports leaving the European Union without a deal on 29 March. The Leader of the House will shortly make an emergency business statement confirming the change to tomorrow’s business.

This is an issue of grave importance for the future of our country. Just like the referendum, there are strongly held and equally legitimate views on both sides. For that reason, I can confirm that this will be a free vote on this side of the House.

I have personally struggled with this choice as I am sure many other Honourable Members will. I am passionate about delivering the result of the referendum. But I equally passionately believe that the best way to do that is to leave in an orderly way with a deal and I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action. And I am conscious also of my duties as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the potential damage to the Union that leaving without a deal could do when one part of our country is without devolved governance.

I can therefore confirm that the motion will read:

That this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework on the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement.

I will return to the House to open the debate tomorrow and to take interventions from Honourable Members. And to ensure the House is fully informed in making this historic decision, the Government will tomorrow publish information on essential policies which would need to be put in place if we were to leave without a deal. These will cover our approach to tariffs and the Northern Ireland border, among other matters.

If the House votes to leave without a deal on 29 March, it will be the policy of the Government to implement that decision.

If the House declines to approve leaving without a deal on 29 March, the Government will, following that vote, bring forward a motion on Thursday on whether Parliament wants to seek an extension to Article 50.

If the House votes for an extension, the Government will seek to agree that extension with the EU and bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date commensurate with that extension.

But let me be clear. Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face. The EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension.

This House will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke Article 50? Does it want to hold a second referendum? Or does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal?

These are unenviable choices, but thanks to the decision the House has made this evening they must now be faced.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-in-the-house-of-commons-12-march-2019

PM’s press statement in Strasbourg: 11 March 2019

Prime Minister’s press statement in Strasbourg: 11 March 2019

Last November, after two years of hard-fought negotiations, I agreed a Brexit deal with the EU that I passionately believe delivers on the decision taken by the British people to leave the European Union.

Over the last four months, I have made the case for that deal in Westminster and across the UK. I stand by what that deal achieves for my country.

It means we regain control of our laws, by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.

Regain control of our borders, by ending free movement.

Regain control of our money, by ending vast annual payments to the EU.

The end of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy for British farmers and fishermen.

An independent trade policy.

And the deal sets us on course for a good future relationship with our friends and allies in the EU.

A close economic partnership that is good for business.

Ongoing security co-operation to keep our peoples safe.

The deal honours the referendum result and is good for both the UK and the EU.

But there was a clear concern in Parliament over one issue in particular: the Northern Ireland backstop. Having an insurance policy to guarantee that there will never be a hard border in Northern Ireland is absolutely right – it honours the UK’s solemn commitments in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. But if we ever have to use that insurance policy, it cannot become a permanent arrangement and it is not the template for our future relationship.

The deal that MPs voted on in January was not strong enough in making that clear – and legally binding changes were needed to set that right. Today we have agreed them.

First, a joint instrument with comparable legal weight to the Withdrawal Agreement will guarantee that the EU cannot act with the intent of applying the backstop indefinitely. If they do, it can be challenged through arbitration and if they are found to be in breach the UK can suspend the backstop. The joint instrument also gives a legal commitment that whatever replaces the backstop does not need to replicate it. And it entrenches in legally-binding form the commitments made in the exchange of letters with Presidents Tusk and Juncker in January.

Second, the UK and the EU have made a joint statement in relation to the Political Declaration. It sets out a number of commitments to enhance and expedite the process of negotiating and bringing into force the future relationship. And it makes a legal commitment that the UK and the EU will begin work immediately to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by the end of December 2020. There will be a specific negotiating track on alternative arrangements from the very start of the next phase of negotiations. It will consider facilitations and technologies – both those currently ready and emerging. The UK’s position will be informed by the three domestic groups announced last week – for technical experts, MPs, and business and trade unions.

Third, alongside the joint instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement, the United Kingdom Government will make a Unilateral Declaration that if the backstop comes into use and discussions on our future relationship break down so that there is no prospect of subsequent agreement, it is the position of the United Kingdom that there would be nothing to prevent the UK instigating measures that would ultimately dis-apply the backstop. Unilateral Declarations are commonly used by states alongside the ratification of treaties.

The Attorney General will set out in legal analysis the meaning of the joint instrument and unilateral declaration to Parliament.

Tomorrow the House of Commons will debate the improved deal that these legal changes have created.

I will speak in more detail about them when I open that debate.

MPs were clear that legal changes were needed to the backstop. Today we have secured legal changes. Now is the time to come together, to back this improved Brexit deal, and to deliver on the instruction of the British people.

PM Theresa May writes in the Grimsby Telegraph 08 March 2019

PM Theresa May wrote an article for the Grimsby Telegraph newspaper which was originally published on 08 March 2019.

In the Summer of 2016, people in Grimsby voted for change.

You voted to leave the European Union and take back control of our borders, laws, money and trade.

You voted to leave the Common Fisheries Policy which has failed this famous fishing town, like so many of Britain’s coastal communities. And you voted for real improvements in your local area, as part of a country that truly works for everyone.

Almost three years on, I know many of you are fed up that instead of delivering this mandate for change, Parliament remains deadlocked debating it. I share that frustration. It is profoundly wrong that having given the decision to you, and having been elected to Parliament in 2017 on manifestos overwhelmingly committed to leaving with a deal, the question of whether your MPs will deliver on that referendum is still hanging in the balance.

That is why the Meaningful Vote next Tuesday is such a critical moment. MPs will have to decide whether to back the Brexit deal – or to reject it. Back it, and the UK will leave the European Union. Reject it and we do not know what the consequences will be. We may not leave the EU for many months; we may leave without the protections that the deal provides; or we may never leave at all.

The deal before Parliament next week ends free movement, ends our vast payments to the EU and ends the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.

It enables a harbour like Grimsby , the largest by tonnage in the UK, to expand its operation as we strike free trade deals with countries all over the world. It frees our farmers from the Common Agricultural Policy and means restoring full sovereign control of our waters so we can decide as an independent coastal state who fishes in them.

PM speech in Grimsby, 8 March 2019

by Politicker 0 Comments

Thank you Matthew for that introduction and thank you to Ørsted for hosting us today.

Your work in offshore wind does not just provide skilled jobs here in Grimsby, it makes a direct contribution to the UK’s efforts to reduce our carbon emissions and protect our environment. Achieving the economic benefits of the global shift to sustainable green growth is one of the four Grand Challenges in our Modern Industrial Strategy. The UK is the world-leader in offshore wind, and yesterday we launched our Offshore Wind Sector Deal to build on that success. As an international company investing in the UK, Ørsted is making a major contribution to that success and I am delighted to be with you today.

Next week, Members of Parliament in Westminster face a crucial choice. Whether to back the Brexit deal – or to reject it. Back it and the UK will leave the European Union. Reject it and no one knows what will happen. We may not leave the EU for many months. We may leave without the protections that the deal provides. We may never leave at all. The only certainty would be ongoing uncertainty. Months more spent arguing about Brexit, when we could be focusing on improving our NHS, our schools and our communities.

It will be for the 630-odd MPs at Westminster who will be voting next week to take this decision. But they will take it on your behalf – and on behalf of tens of millions of people across the UK. Parliament gave the decision to leave or remain in the European Union to you. Thirty-three and a half million people took part in the referendum – the biggest turnout for a generation. The result was close, but it was clear. If it had gone the other way, we would be staying in. But the decision was to leave – and that is what we must do.

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