LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS – BREXIT ON WTO TERMS – 26 March 2019

Dr Julian Lewis: If this House does not approve the withdrawal agreement – indeed, it might be that it is not possible for the withdrawal agreement to be brought back before this House anyway – and if the Prime Minister therefore decides that exiting on World Trade Organisation terms is preferable to no Brexit, is there anything that this House can actually do ​to prevent the Prime Minister ensuring that we exit on WTO terms? I think the answer to that question is no, isn’t it?

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom): I think my right hon. Friend poses an unanswerable question, because of course the ingenuity of the House knows no bounds. What the House has been clear about is that it does not want a no-deal Brexit or a Brexit on WTO terms. I share that desire, but, as we have always been clear, the way to avoid a no-deal Brexit is to vote for the deal. If I may, Mr Speaker, I will quote directly from the European Council conclusions:

“The European Council reiterates that there can be no opening of the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed between the Union and the United Kingdom in November 2018. Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

So all the terms under which the UK leaves the EU are subject to the agreement by this House of the withdrawal agreement.]