My Lords, with the leave of the House, I would like to make a short personal statement. Last Monday I repeated a Statement to the House to provide an update on negotiations between the UK and the European Union in November. Following that Statement, I responded to a question from my noble friend Lord Ridley regarding the Supreme Court’s view on the revocability of Article 50. My response to my noble friend was incorrect, as a result of a misunderstanding of the question on my part. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, who highlighted my mistake. I undertook to check the record, which I subsequently did, and then wrote to the noble Baroness the following day to clarify my remarks and make it clear that the Supreme Court did not opine on the revocability of Article 50 during the case. A copy of this correspondence was placed in the Library of the House last Tuesday afternoon.
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the Government’s understanding of the Supreme Court case. To reiterate, for the avoidance of any doubt, the Supreme Court proceeded in the Miller case on the basis that Article 50 would not be revoked but did not rule on the legal position regarding its revocability. It was, and remains, the Government’s policy that our notification of Article 50 will not be withdrawn. This House has a huge amount to contribute to debates about our exit from the European Union, and my door remains open to anyone who wishes to discuss this with me.
Once again, I am grateful to the House for this opportunity to make a statement. I recognise that my comments have caused confusion, and I apologise for that.