“On the date of withdrawal, the Treaties, including the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community…cease to apply to the United Kingdom.”

During a Westminster Hall debate on the negotiations on future Euratom membership, Bill Cash made the following speech and interventions:

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Very simply, I congratulate the hon. Member for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen) on introducing the debate, because his attitude was extremely constructive. There are a lot of issues associated with matters of this kind, and it is important for us both to be practical and to stick to the legal position. I very much agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr. Jones) about the legal position; in fact, it is endorsed exclusively by the European Commission. After the BEIS Committee report, which was published on 2 May, the Commission published a position paper on 22 June stating:

“On the date of withdrawal, the Treaties, including the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community…cease to apply to the United Kingdom.”

I think that is definitive; the Commission takes that view.

However, the other aspect to this is that we have to find an answer to these questions, and we have to be constructive about it at the same time. The legal position is clear, but the question is where we go from there. We are bound by international conventions to our membership of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and it is my belief that the same applies to the EU. I therefore suspect that there is common ground here, in which all the rules are effectively already converging. If that is the case, as I think it probably is, there is a basis on which we can move forwards to some form of co-operation. I very much take up the view of the hon. Member for Ynys Môn regarding a working group. That is an interesting idea, and I think it would be consistent with working towards something like associate membership. I would like to say much more, but in a

I would like to say much more, but in a nutshell the question of jurisdiction is cropping up the whole time in respect of citizens’ rights, our trade arrangements and so on. There is a consistent pattern in how we resolve these questions as we move into negotiations. As I have said in the House several times, I believe that there is a means whereby, without prejudicing or rejecting our judicial sovereignty and Westminster sovereignty, we can take a common-sense approach, by adopting a tribunal. The tribunal could have on it, for example, a retired European Court judge, a retired Supreme Court judge and an independent judge. In other words, through such a tribunal we could try to find a constructive answer through some form of international agreement whereby we can all be satisfied, instead of shouting at one another. The law is clear, but we need to look for constructive solutions.

(…)

Mr Vaizey: My hon. Friend is absolutely correct. One Member asked earlier why we are singling out Euratom from other European institutions that we will leave as part of the process of leaving the European Union. The key point is that our membership of Euratom is under a separate treaty to our membership of the European Union.

Sir William Cash: I just want to reaffirm something. The Commission’s position paper, dated 27 June, is quite unequivocal about the fact that when notice is given, we cease to be members of Euratom and also the EU under article 50. That is quite clearly set out in the Commission’s position paper.

Mr Vaizey: We remain members of Euratom, as we remain members of the European Union. We served our intention to leave, but there is many a slip between cup and lip. I hate to mention this name in august company, in case it sets off an argument, but it was interesting to see Juncker’s chief of staff today pointing out that he has never made a comment about our membership of Euratom. In terms of his general approach to Brexit and our not having our cake and eating it, he specifically said on Twitter today that that does not include Euratom. There are huge opportunities here, and we all stand ready to help the Minister.

(…)

Sir William Cash: This is not just a question of legal opinion, it is actually stated in the treaty itself. Article 106a of the Euratom treaty, as amended by the Lisbon treaty, unequivocally says that article 50 of the treaty on European Union—the article that sets out the procedure for EU withdrawal—

“shall apply to this Treaty.”

It is there in black and white. It is not a matter of legal opinion—it is just there.

(…)

Richard Harrington: Imminently means imminently. [Interruption.]

That was quite a good line, actually.We are ready and confident that we can find common ground as officials enter the first phase of

We are ready and confident that we can find common ground as officials enter the first phase of negotiations, because there is a clear mutual interest in maintaining close and effective co-operation.We are also keen to ensure minimal disruption to civil nuclear trade and co-operation with non-European partners. To that end, we are negotiating with the US, Canada, Australia and Japan so that we have the appropriate co-operation agreements in place. I reinforce that point

We are also keen to ensure minimal disruption to civil nuclear trade and co-operation with non-European partners. To that end, we are negotiating with the US, Canada, Australia and Japan so that we have the appropriate co-operation agreements in place. I reinforce that point because hon. Members may have read or heard that everything has to be done in a painfully long sequence that takes years and years. I can tell them not only that it is possible to do these things in parallel, but that we are doing so.We will avoid the cliff edge feared by the hon. Member for Ynys Môn. We are preparing the domestic Nuclear Safeguards Bill, we are opening negotiations with the EU, we are talking to third countries about bilateral agreements, and we are talking to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Nobody doubts the UK’s credentials as a responsible nuclear state, and everyone in the UK and elsewhere is keen to see that continue. The UK has been

We will avoid the cliff edge feared by the hon. Member for Ynys Môn. We are preparing the domestic Nuclear Safeguards Bill, we are opening negotiations with the EU, we are talking to third countries about bilateral agreements, and we are talking to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Nobody doubts the UK’s credentials as a responsible nuclear state, and everyone in the UK and elsewhere is keen to see that continue. The UK has been in the forefront of nuclear non-proliferation for 60 years. I have no doubt that we can bring these discussions to a satisfactory conclusion.I am sure hon. Members will be quick to remind me that I have not yet mentioned nuclear research and development. I will have to cover this quickly, but I want them to know that it is another strand of work that we are taking seriously and acting on swiftly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 27 June that we would underwrite the UK’s share of the EU

I am sure hon. Members will be quick to remind me that I have not yet mentioned nuclear research and development. I will have to cover this quickly, but I want them to know that it is another strand of work that we are taking seriously and acting on swiftly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 27 June that we would underwrite the UK’s share of the EU joint European torus fusion project. We are totally committed to R and D collaboration, in particular to Oxfordshire’s world-leading Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, which my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell) mentioned. The Secretary of State described JET in his announcement as a “prized facility”. I assure all hon. Members that this is a top priority for us.There is no question of lack of support for Euratom. There has been

There is no question of lack of support for Euratom. There has been discussion today of whether we need to leave it at all. There was clear advice at the time about the unique nature of the legal relationship between the separate treaties and about their inseparability. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was asked by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee whether it would be possible to leave the EU but remain in Euratom. He said:

“Essentially, the interleaving of various aspects of the treaties in practice could have meant that it was defective. The article 50 notification would have been defective had we not served it for Euratom as well. Therefore, we served it, but at the outset we said that we want to have continuity of co-operation and collaboration, and that is what we intend to achieve.”

Albert Owen:   Thank you for chairing the debate in such a splendid fashion, Mr Gray. I thank each of the 15 Members who participated.

I set out in this debate to create consensus so that we can get the best deal for Britain. The Minister has been slightly helpful, but only slightly. He would have done better to have said that before the recess we would have a debate on the Floor of the House on how we can move this matter forward. We need to hold the Government to account—not with a statement just before recess, but with a proper and open debate like this one, so that we can be constructive and move forward together as one. That is what I set out to do today, and that is what we have done.

The Government’s rhetoric needs to turn into action. Demanding that has been the responsibility of Back Benchers in this debate, and it will be the responsibility of the Opposition and the Government, working together, to get the best deal for the United Kingdom.

 

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