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Arrangement of Business

Volume 797: debated on Monday 1 April 2019


My Lords, I would like to make a statement to update the House regarding next week and the Easter Recess. Following on from the vote on Friday in the House of Commons we know that the end of our current extension of the Article 50 period, and therefore the default day on which we leave the EU, is Friday 12 April. Noble Lords will be aware that there is another European Council on Wednesday 10 April, when any further extension would need to be discussed and agreed. As this House did so ably last week, we may need again to react swiftly to consider any necessary legislation to ensure continuing legal certainty.

I can confirm that it is our intention to sit next week to ensure that this House is able to respond to any emerging developments. I will come back later this week with more precise details, following conversations with the usual channels, but I thought it right to give the House the earliest possible notice. I am grateful to all noble Lords and, of course, to the hard-working staff of this House for their understanding.

My Lords, I thank the Government Chief Whip for this statement and confirm that, in the usual channels, Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition have indicated they will co-operate in any further discussions or legislation required, with the proviso that it is genuine business arising from the constitutional debate on Brexit. I also ask him to maintain a strict review of what is required so that, as he has mentioned, any potential disruption to Members and, more importantly, staff is kept to a minimum.

I understand the point that the noble Lord is making. He and I sit in the usual channels, together with the noble Lord, Lord Stoneham, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, the Convenor of the Cross Benches. I promise to keep regularly in touch with all. I suspect we will be talking about this every day until this Thursday and then into next week. For the time being, I am grateful for the support that the noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, has given.