5 Lord Callanan debates involving the Leader of the House

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Lord Callanan Excerpts
Monday 20th February 2017

(7 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My Lords, I draw the attention of the House to my entries in the register of interests, in that I provide advice and consultancy services to a number of European companies and organisations. It is also worth recording that as a former Member of the European Parliament, I hope when I reach retirement age in due course to benefit from a pension from that institution. More than seven and a half hours into this debate, I am conscious of two things. The first is the incredible stamina of the two Front Benches, who are doing an excellent job of looking as though they are still paying attention to what everyone is saying. The second is that virtually everything has been said but of course not everyone has yet said it.

Before the referendum, after much careful thought and consideration, I supported Brexit, and of course I support the Bill today. I am fully aware that the negotiations over our departure from the EU and the follow-on trade arrangements will be difficult, complicated and drawn out, and there will be much drama, but that is not what the Bill is about. Put simply, the Bill is about giving notice under the only legal mechanism available, Article 50, of our intention to implement the result of the referendum.

Like others, I greatly enjoyed the contribution in another place from the Member for Rushcliffe, Kenneth Clarke. I did not agree with him, of course, but I greatly enjoyed his contribution. I think he benefited from the notion of consistency. He opposed the idea of a referendum and voted against holding one because he thought it was a bad idea, and therefore he did not feel bound by its result. I did not agree with him on any of those issues but at least he has the benefit of consistency in his views. What I find difficult is the inconsistency of many of the speakers in this debate, people who produced leaflets saying, “It’s time for a real referendum on Europe”, and who enthusiastically supported the referendum Bill when it came to this House but now tell us that they somehow do not wish to accept the result of that referendum.

When they voted on the referendum Bill, what did they think they were voting for? Did any of them say in debate at the time that the referendum was only advisory and a glorified opinion poll, as someone has said? Indeed, did they make that point during the referendum campaign itself? Of course, the answer is no, they did not. In fact, the opposite is the case. The Liberal Democrats in particular went out of their way to tell us all how important it was, how it was vital for the future of the country: this was an opportunity finally to put this issue to bed and not have to talk about it ever again. That was why it was important for us all to go out to vote remain. Now that they have a result they did not want, they are all telling us that actually, it is time to think again and we should have another referendum in case we want to change our minds.

I fear that that is how I view many of the amendments spoken to tonight to either delay the result and notification of Article 50 or to bind the hands of our negotiators. Therefore, all the amendments are unwelcome. I want to see us become a good neighbour and friend to the European Union rather than what we have become, which is a reluctant tenant. The country has voted to leave. We should get on with it.

Informal European Council

Lord Callanan Excerpts
Monday 6th February 2017

(7 years, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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The noble Lord is right that we need to address the issues and needs of all sectors. That is why the work of the House’s EU committees is so important. I look forward to reading the report and am sure that excellent suggestions will be put forward about the kinds of issues that we need to think about during our negotiations.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My Lords, I thank my noble friend for repeating the Statement. Does she find it strange that many Members of this House and another place are threatening to vote against the imposition of Article 50 after voting in favour of holding the referendum in the first place? Does she recall any of them saying during the referendum campaign that, however people voted, they would ignore the result of the referendum, whatever it was?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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My noble friend is right. The Article 50 Bill is indeed a straightforward Bill: it is not about whether the UK should leave the European Union—that decision has been made—but about triggering Article 50.

European Council

Lord Callanan Excerpts
Monday 24th October 2016

(7 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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Perhaps the noble Lord will permit me to write to him with details on that issue.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My Lords, does not the failure of the EU to agree so far the trade agreement with Wallonia—which I note is being held up by the socialists in the same way as the TTIP agreement is being held up by the socialists in France—demonstrate that if the UK wants to have a free trading future, trading with all the great growing economies of the world, we need to do it from outside the EU?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Portrait Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
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As I have said, we still hope that the EU will be able to sign a trade deal with Canada. We want to get a good trade deal with the EU. We have also been clear that we will not be following an existing model; we will have a bespoke arrangement. My noble friend is absolutely right that we need to be looking outwardly to countries across the world—the Commonwealth and others—with whom we can develop even stronger relationships than we have now.

Syria: UK Military Action

Lord Callanan Excerpts
Wednesday 2nd December 2015

(8 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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My Lords, it is in debates such as this that this House truly comes into its own. I have listened with tremendous interest and respect to the many outstanding contributions on all sides from many noble Lords much more experienced in these matters than myself. However, I have been somewhat surprised to listen to some of the breathless commentary on radio and TV proclaiming in various forms that somehow, depending on a decision in the other place, we could be at war tonight. Surely, as part of our international coalition, in those terms we are already at war and have been since last September. We are discussing the extension of that action into Syria across a border that Daesh itself clearly does not even recognise.

Whatever we may think, Daesh and its affiliates clearly believe that they are at war with us and make no secret of it in their prodigious social media output. They have killed and maimed scores of our citizens and those of our allies. They also make no secret of their plans to kill many more, regardless of the decisions we make tonight. The key question for me is: will extending our current military action into Syria help to reduce or degrade their ability to attack us further? I believe that the answer to that question is undoubtedly, in a limited way, yes. Therefore, we should support that action and rely on the tremendous skills and bravery of our fantastic Armed Forces to prosecute that campaign.

It is also worth speculating on a “what if?” question. What if the atrocities that we saw in Paris recently had occurred—as, indeed, they very well might—in London or one of our other cities, as they may well in the future? We would undoubtedly wish to take retaliatory action against the people responsible. I am sure we would want to rely on our friends and allies in France and the United States to stand by us and support us in that action. In those terms alone, we should support our French allies and provide all the help and assistance we possibly can.

I respect those in this House and elsewhere who call for peace and negotiated settlements. Surely that is the ideal. But where is their evidence that Daesh is the slightest bit interested in any kind of peaceful settlement, irrespective of what we choose to do tonight? They are barbaric zealots. They are not interested in treating and talking peacefully with us, or in any kind of negotiated settlement. I am afraid that there is no non-violent alternative or solution to this. I totally accept that we must take action. We should support the Government in their campaign. I also believe that it will undoubtedly involve the use of ground forces in the future, I hope alongside Muslim Arab allies. I think that that is the way the campaign is going. Sadly, I see no alternative, so we should support the Government tonight.

European Council

Lord Callanan Excerpts
Monday 19th October 2015

(8 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Stowell of Beeston Portrait Baroness Stowell of Beeston
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I consider it my aim every day to bring amusement to the noble Lord, so I am glad that I achieved that today.

The Prime Minister has been consistent throughout this process. In his Bloomberg speech he set out his vision for Europe. He has been clear about the need to make the case for reform in all the discussions he has had with his various European partners. As I have already explained, detailed technical talks have been going on about the legal implications for change in these four areas. He will set out the detail of the changes that he wants to see in November and will then proceed with his negotiations and he will achieve his best for Britain. I have every faith that he will secure an outcome that will ensure we end up with a better relationship for the UK with the European Union. We will then put that to a referendum; I am pleased that the noble Lord is now supportive of the opportunity that we are providing to the people of this country.

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I thank the noble Baroness very much indeed for her Statement. I welcome the Government’s renegotiation agenda and look forward to an ambitious agreement succeeding in due course. When the renegotiation is completed, do the Government intend to produce a full, detailed, White Paper setting out exactly what has been achieved and the consequences therefore in the referendum of a leave or a remain vote for everybody to see, discuss and debate?

Baroness Stowell of Beeston Portrait Baroness Stowell of Beeston
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Clearly, people will expect to see the results of the renegotiations and how the relationship with Europe has been changed and how these changes will address people’s concerns. The best thing for me to do is to quote the Chancellor, who told the other place in June that,

“the Treasury will publish assessments of the merits of membership and the risks of a lack of reform in the European Union, including the damage that that could do to Britain’s interests”.—[Official Report, Commons, 16/6/15; col. 166.]