Chloe Smith
MP for Norwich North

Brexit Blog: February 12th Statement from the Prime Minister

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 13 February 2019 14:43

In my previous blog piece dated February 1st, I promised that I would write again to keep constituents informed of the latest updates on the Brexit process. Today (12th February) in Parliament the Prime Minister updated the commons on the latest developments in negotiations.


You can read the full transcript of the statement at the below web address.


On Sunday (10th February) the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union met with EU negotiators to discuss how to secure legally binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, addressing concerns about the backstop while guaranteeing no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.


The objective remains to find a way to guarantee that we cannot, and will not, be trapped in the backstop. The Government are open to different ways to achieve this – but are clear it must be legally binding and therefore will require changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.


The Prime Minister said in her statement outlined three possible suggestions for legally binding changes to the backstop;” First, the backstop could be replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland;


Second, there could be a legally-binding time limit to the existing backstop;


Or third, there could be a legally-binding unilateral exit clause to that backstop”.


As the Prime Minister set out in her statement two weeks ago, the Houses of Parliament will have a stronger role in the next phase of the negotiations. Following through on this commitment, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union has written to the Exiting the EU Committee seeking their view on engaging Parliament in this next phase of negotiations.


The Prime Minister outlined the next steps in the Brexit process.


Having secured agreement with the European Union for further talks, the Government will need some additional time to complete this process and when the necessary progress has been made, the Government will bring forward another meaningful vote.


If the Government has not secured a majority in this House in favour of a Withdrawal Agreement, then the Government will on 26th February make a statement and table an amendable motion. a Minister will move that motion on Wednesday 27 February, thereby enabling the House to vote on it, and on any amendments to it, on that day.

I have always believed that seeing Brexit through successfully requires a deal, one that works for the whole UK and the best way to ensure we leave the European Union with a deal is to vote for one. This means ensuring the Prime Minister has the strongest possible mandate to build upon the progress already made in negotiations to achieve a deal that Parliament can support. So, I expect to maintain my vote in favour of the broad deal which the government is now seeking to improve.

As always, I will continue to keep constituents updated with all the latest developments on Brexit here on my blog.  And as I have said each time, I am really grateful for everyone who is letting me know their views, which I read carefully.  As a result, I will continue my work in Parliament to support getting a pragmatic deal, because that’s what is in the best interests of my constituents in Norwich North.