Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley: A legitimate concern of many remain voters, and one which many of us on the leave side can well understand, is that an unduly long period of uncertainty while negotiations are ongoing would be damaging to the British economy. Will my right hon. Friend therefore confirm that it will be his priority to complete the process as soon as possible, that the two-year limit set down in article 50 is an arbitrary maximum, not a necessary minimum, and that most countries that have obtained independence or left a political union—India, Canada and Australia or the Czech Republic and Slovakia—have done so in far less than two years?

    David Davis: I defer to my right hon. Friend’s knowledge of the history of those other countries. The Prime Minister has said that we will not trigger article 50 until the new year. The reason is not unnecessary delay or the wasting of time; it is to ensure that we get all the decisions absolutely right. Mr right hon. Friend has heard over the past few minutes about some of the complexities involved in the acquis communautaire alone. We will trigger article 50 as soon as is reasonably possible. I would rather be a month late and get it right than be a month early and get it wrong. We will do it as expeditiously as possible. The Prime Minister has said clearly that she thinks the British people expect us to get on with it.