I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Lia Nici) on her election as the first Conservative MP for Great Grimsby since 1945—fantastic!
The withdrawal agreement ensures that the current role of the European Union institutions, including the European Court of Justice, and the obligation to comply with European Union law as it is now end with the implementation period on 31 December 2020. There are limited exceptions, such as citizens’ rights, to give businesses and individuals certainty. The agreement enables a relationship between sovereign equals.
I thank the Minister for his response. Does he agree that coastal areas such as my Great Grimsby constituency voted particularly to ensure that we take back control of our fishing laws, and that it is essential, following Brexit, that laws governing fishing are decided here in the UK?
I agree with my hon. Friend. I recognise the importance of this issue as I, too, represent a coastal constituency. As we leave the EU, we will be an independent coastal state and we will introduce our own independent fisheries policy. We will be able to control access to and management of our waters. That presents opportunities for the UK fishing industry, and the Government are determined to make the most of such opportunities for the people of Grimsby and the rest of the United Kingdom.
On 30 January, I shall be holding a public meeting to explain the terms of the withdrawal agreement. When I held my last meeting relating to the previous withdrawal agreement, concern was raised about the European Court’s ability to determine issues that arise. Will my hon. Friend confirm that, under articles 167 to 181 of the new withdrawal agreement, while the Court can have matters referred to it, it cannot actually determine, because we will now have an arbitration panel, over which the UK will have a large degree of control?
I can confirm that the withdrawal agreement establishes an arbitration panel as part of the standard mechanism for settling disputes between the UK and the EU. After 31 December, the Court of Justice of the European Union will no longer be the final arbiter of disputes under the disputes resolution mechanism. I look forward to an invite to my hon. Friend’s event.
I thank the Minister for his assurances on the ECJ. People in Heywood and Middleton voted to leave the European Union by a quite significant margin. Does he agree that the critical reason for that was a wish to take back control of our laws to this place and not to be dictated to by Brussels?
It is wonderful to see my hon. Friend in the Chamber—he is not the first Conservative MP for his constituency since 1945, but the first ever Conservative MP for Heywood and Middleton. This Government have prioritised negotiating a deal that disentangles us from the European Union’s legal order and does indeed take back control of our laws.