Draft Withdrawal Deal

15th November 2018

In my question to the Prime Minister earlier today, I made it clear that we owe it to the British people to scrutinise this draft withdrawal deal extremely carefully.

This is a highly complex collection of documents which took many months to negotiate and extends to over 550 pages in total, covering a huge range of subjects from economic partnership and energy to security and institutional arrangements.

Whilst it is easy for both sides to criticise the Government’s deal, the fact is that, as I said in my question, this has to be a compromise and therefore both sides are liable to be critical of any position.

There will now be a further ten days during which more important negotiations will take place and a further framework document will be published. Following the yet confirmed November summit in Brussels, the finalised deal will formally be announced. The House of Commons will then debate the entire matter in great and proper detail and the so-called “meaningful vote” on any deal will take place.

My opinion is that the parliamentary arithmetic on this will be extremely tight and, as a result, a vote could go either way. If Parliament rejects it, I have no doubt that the Prime Minister will seek to negotiate some of the more controversial terms.

However, as I reminded the Prime Minister in my question, Members of Parliament will need to consider the package in its entirety and judge whether it is truly in the national interest to crash out of the European Union with no agreement in place.

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