As I have said before, the duration of the implementation period should be in the region of two years, and the Commission’s position indicates a period of similar length: so far it has talked about 21 months. The aim on both sides is to give individuals, businesses and Governments time to plan and initiate the changes that must be made to allow a smooth and orderly transition, and to secure the best possible outcome for the United Kingdom.
Could it be shorter?
If I simply accept the European Commission proposal, then yes.
Unlike the question from the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne), which was commendably pithy—and again I exhort him to issue his textbook for the benefit of all colleagues.
I will do my best, Mr Speaker.
The EU has made it clear that EU citizens coming to the UK during the transition period should be eligible for settled status; the Prime Minister says they will not be eligible. Is that a red line, or are the Government willing to compromise on that? I thought nothing was agreed until everything was agreed.
The hon. Gentleman is right that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, but in the joint report that we concluded and got agreement on in December the EU agreed that the transition date, or end date for ongoing permanent residence rights—not possibilities, but rights—will be March 2019.