PRIME MINISTER – BREXIT DATE – 20 December 2017
Dr Julian Lewis: As one of the signatories to amendment 400 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, may I seek an assurance from the Prime Minister that its provisions to change the date of our leaving the EU will be invoked only in extremely exceptional circumstances, if at all, and only for a very short period?
[The Prime Minister: I am happy to give my right hon. Friend and others that reassurance. We are very clear that we will be leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 at 11 pm. The Bill that is going through does not determine that the UK leaves the EU; that is part of the article 50 process and a matter of international law. It is important that we have the same position legally as the European Union, which is why we have accepted the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin), but I can assure my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) and the House the we would use that power only in exceptional circumstances for the shortest possible time, and that an affirmative motion would be brought to the House.]