An essential first step for a successful Brexit is to pass the Repeal Bill which will ensure that all existing European law becomes British law once we are no longer a member of the EU. This will then allow us to amend or repeal legislation in our own country’s interest. I also agree that if we are to have control of our own laws including on immigration as well as the freedom to reach new bilateral trade deals, this means that we can no longer be members of the European Single Market or the Customs Union.  You may rest assured that I will be voting for the Repeal Bill without amendment.

The UK will leave the EU and its institutions on 29 March 2019. It will no longer be in the European Council, the Council of the EU or in the European Parliament. Membership of the single market will also end on this day. I want a long-term partnership with the EU that will be of mutual benefit to all our people but a future trade agreement will take time to agree and ratify. It can also only be concluded after the UK has left the EU. This is why an implementation period is necessary. It would create instability and uncertainty if there were one set of changes after the UK left the EU and another of set after a trade agreement was reached. People and businesses should only need to adjust once to the changes.

As set out in Article 50, the treaties of the EU will cease to apply to the UK when the withdrawal agreement enters into force, or failing that, two years from the day the UK submitted its notification, unless there is a unanimous agreement with the other 27 member states to extend the process. The UK will leave the EU in March 2019 and its membership of the single market will end at this point.

The Prime Minister has said that she is certain that a positive withdrawal agreement can be reached with the EU. A good deal for Britain and a good deal for Europe are not competing alternatives and they are not mutually exclusive. Not reaching a deal would be a damaging blow for the future security and prosperity of the UK and Europe. For that reason, I do not want or expect an outcome with no deal but the Government is preparing for all eventualities as a responsible government ought to do.