Chloe Smith
Conservative Candidate for Norwich North

Brexit blog- Prime Minister’s Statement 26th February

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 26 February 2019 16:49

Upon her return from the EU-League of Arab States Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, today (26th February) the Prime Minister has updated Parliament on the progress of the Brexit negotiations. As always, I am writing to keep constituents informed of the latest developments.


You can read the full transcript of the Prime Minister’s statement at the below web address.


The Prime Minister has been meeting with European leaders to explain the UK’s position on what it will take for an agreement to receive the support of Parliament.

As part of these discussions, the UK and EU have agreed to consider a joint work stream to develop alternative arrangements to ensure the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland. This work will be done in parallel with the future relationship negotiations and is without prejudice to them.

The Prime Minister said today: “I know what this House needs in order to support a Withdrawal Agreement, the EU knows what is needed and I am working hard to deliver it. As well as changes to the backstop, we are also working across a number of other areas to build support for the Withdrawal Agreement and to give the House confidence in the future relationship that the UK and EU will go on to negotiate”.

Part of this work includes ensuring that leaving the EU will not lead to any lowering of standards in relation to workers’ rights, environmental protections or health and safety.

The next steps in this process will be:

  • The Government will hold a second Meaningful Vote by Tuesday 12 March at the latest, to seek approval of the proposed and improved deal.
  • If Parliament does not support that deal, then the next day the Government will ask the House if it supports leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a framework for a future relationship on 29 March – i.e. ask the Commons to vote whether to have ‘no-deal’.
  • If Parliament, having rejected leaving with the deal negotiated with the EU, then rejects leaving on 29 March without a deal, the Government will, on 14 March, bring forward a motion on whether Parliament wants to seek a short limited extension to Article 50 – and if the House votes for an extension, seek to agree that extension approved by the House with the EU, and bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date commensurate with that extension.

To be clear, an extension to Article 50 cannot take no-deal off the table, and I do not want to see Article 50 extended. My own view is that I fully support the Government’s focus to work on achieving a deal which can deliver on the referendum result and bring our country together again. Therefore, I expect to maintain my vote in favour of the broad deal which the government is now seeking to improve.  I encourage other MPs to do the same.

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.