Speaking in the House of Lords debate on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, 21 February 2017
Read Lord Owen’s full speech here: HLdebateonEUBill21.2.17
“We have to be flexible on many things. We need to come out of the EU as quickly as we can, and I would not wait two years to do this. That is the fundamental decision as I understand it, and which I believe is virtually irrevocable as the result of the referendum.
“How we handle the next few years is a very difficult question.
“…. there has to be a transitional period, but that transition should be after we have gone from the EU and before we have a trading agreement. In that area, there are flexibilities that we should be examining. Of course, we must first talk, as we are bound to do under Article 50, to the 27 EU member states…
“We should also talk to our other European friends – the non-EU members of the EEA.
“I stress the EEA…. because it might be a mechanism for healing some of the wounds and for gathering a higher percentage of people in support of a policy of coming out of the EU. That must be our objective.
“It is certainly not our objective to ‘rise up’. I hope nobody else goes to Bloomberg to make speeches…. What we need is unity, the maximum unity possible.”