George Freeman backs Brexit Bill compromise on fixed leaving date

20th December 2017

George Freeman backs compromise amendments on the Brexit date which enables the "exit day" to be pushed back if negotiations are continuing and the UK and EU both agree.

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for making so eloquently the point about the importance of process as the best defence of our liberties. Will he join me in welcoming the work that assiduous junior Ministers have done for their Secretary of State with my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) in agreeing a package of amendments that I am happy to put my name to and vote for tonight, along with amendment 381? As he mentioned tidings of comfort, it seems at this Christmas moment that not since the soldiers met on no man’s land to sing “Silent Night” has peace broken out at such an opportune moment.

I am filled with my hon. Friend’s Christmas spirit, and very much wish that it may be carried through to the new year, and for many years to come. For that reason, I am prepared to support the Government on amendment 381, on the obvious condition that we have the other amendment, and with the assurance from the Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, my hon. Friend and neighbour the Member for Wycombe (Mr Baker), that we will get the necessary further change on Report to make the matter subject to the affirmative procedure. I fully understand why we cannot have that today—it is too late. We should have acted earlier if we wanted to get that into the Bill during Committee.

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