• Negotiations on leaving the European Union

    19 July 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about the terms on which Britain leaves the European Union.
    During debates on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill the Government promised that there would be frequent reports to Parliament during the negotiations.  This means that the final deal will 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.  This includes the ‘Great Repeal Bill’, which will transfer existing EU law into UK law.  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.  Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has now been invoked and there is a two-year period in which to agree a withdrawal deal.  It is not within the power of the Government unilaterally to extend the negotiating period as EU law states that this period can only be extended with the unanimous agreement of the remaining member states.  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.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General