Nick asks the Prime Minister to comment on the future relationship with the European Union

Nick Herbert

Is there not a danger that in getting hung up on issues such as the backstop, which although immensely important is something that all sides wish to avoid, or the transition period, which is by definition temporary, we lose sight of the really important issue, which is the future relationship with the EU? That is what we should be focusing on and discussing, and that is what our constituents expect us to deliver. Is it not the case that however they voted in the referendum, the vast majority of Members of this House voted to trigger article 50, and the public expect us to deliver on our promise? Members on the Government Benches in particular should be careful what they wish for in making it harder to move that position.

The Prime Minister

I support my right hon. Friend’s comments. He is absolutely right. There has of course been a lot of focus on the backstop, and I recognise why, because there are genuine concerns about its operation. As he says, others have referred to the transition or implementation period. What will actually determine our relationship with the European Union for decades ahead, though, is the future relationship that we negotiate with the European Union. That is what will determine the futures of my right hon. Friend’s constituents, of my constituents and of people right across the whole United Kingdom.