Prime Minister's statement on the EU negotiations

9th October 2017

George Freeman welcomes the Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons on Britain's future economic and security relationships with the European Union.

After the funfair of the conference season, may I welcome the Prime Minister back to her place as leader of this party, this Government and this country, and to the serious business of government? I congratulate her on the steely determination that she showed last week, including her setting out of an inspiring commitment to see this issue through on behalf of the next generation.

When the Prime Minister heard the Leader of the Opposition refer to Labour’s policy of a transition phase, did she, like me, think that that must be the one that she herself announced in her Lancaster House speech? The only transition in Labour that I see is the one from a once great party to a party of Venezuelan socialism.

My hon. Friend is absolutely spot on, on both counts. Indeed, in my Lancaster House speech, I said:

“I want us to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year Article Fifty process has concluded. From that point onwards, we believe a phased process of implementation”

to enable us to

“prepare for the new arrangements…will be in our mutual self-interest.”

So we thought of the implementation period quite a long time ago.

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