Returning to Parliament after Conference Recess

The following article was originally published in the North Wales Weekly News newspaper on 17 October 2016 2016
Parliament returned from the conference recess on Monday, 10 October. It quickly became apparent that interest in the process of Brexit had not abated over the previous three weeks. abated. On the day of our return, the Secretary of State made a statement of over two hours on the Government’s plan to introduce a Great Repeal Bill, which will incorporate into British law the body of legislation that has emanated, directly and indirectly, from Brussels over the last 43 years. That will enable us to take our time in deciding which elements we should retain, and which we should repeal or amend.
Two days later, the ministerial team were back on the front bench answering an Opposition Day debate on Brexit. I wound up for the Government and expressed how impressed I was that the mood of the House had appeared to change, with almost all Members who participated acknowledging that the British people had spoken and that there was no question of our not proceeding to withdraw from the EU.
The Opposition, however, did press for the British negotiating stance to be approved by Parliament before article 50 was triggered. That was resisted by the Government, on the ground that to reveal our hand in detail would put us at a negotiating disadvantage. However, we made it clear that the Government’s overarching aims were to bring back control of our laws to Parliament, return control of immigration to the UK, maintain strong security corporation with the EU and establish the freest possible market in goods and services with the EU and the rest of the world. That, beyond doubt, was what the British people had voted for on 23 June.
Monday and Tuesday of this week saw me in Luxembourg, attending the EU General Affairs Council, which was a particularly animated event, given that it fell only a few days before the full Council. Britain will continue to play a strong and active part in EU affairs, exerting its rights and performing its obligations in full, right up to the moment when we finally depart from the European Union.

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