The government is planning separate legislation on the transitional arrangement the UK will have when it leaves the EU, Brexit minister Steve Baker has today revealed.
During a hearing with the Exiting the EU select committee, Baker confirmed that the EU Withdrawal Bill currently making its way through parliament would not include transition, telling committee chair Hilary Benn that a separate law will be brought forward outlining the details of this period.
Asked if legislation separate of the EU Withdrawal Bill will be required for transitional arrangements, Baker said: “That is our position, yes.”
But could there be a divorce bill bill?
Benn noted that if government was planning a separate piece of legislation for transition, "why shouldn't that deal with the divorce settlement and our future relationship if you're going to have the bill anyway?"
Baker said this was "a very interesting point".
"It is well made and heard and we will consider the implications," he added. We've noted your question and will consider it.”
However, Baker said there was no question that the EU Withdrawal Bill - which is returning to the Commons on 14 November when it is expected to undergo intense scrutiny - must pass.
“If this bill were not to pass then of course there would be holes in the statute book. The result would be that the statute book would not function as intended," he said.
"This bill is about how leave, it’s not about whether."
Baker and his colleague Robin Walker were speaking just a couple of hours after their boss Brexit secretary David Davis was forced to clarify his comments yesterday that parliament might not get a vote on the final deal.
In front of the same committee, Davis said MPs would be unlikely to have the chance to approve the deal until after the UK had officially left the European Union, because an agreement would not be struck "at the 59th minute of the 11th hour".
Today he said it was "our intent and our expectation" that a deal would be reached in time for both UK and European Parliaments to ratify it, but admitted he could not guarantee that would be the case.