The second issue (which contributes to the first) is the conditionality of the already extraordinary legislative programme implemented around Brexit. Such conditionality can be observed at two levels. At the highest level of abstraction, this is reflected in the relationship between the Withdrawal Act and the Withdrawal Agreement Act and the need for both, with the latter being a means of adapting the former to the requirements of an unfinished (and perhaps never concluded) Withdrawal Agreement. At the micro-level, this is evident in countless instruments currently being adopted under the Withdrawal Act to amend retained EU legislation and make other provisions that stem from the expected consequences of Brexit, but which may not prove necessary – or at least not yet necessary – if a Withdrawal Agreement is concluded and a transition period is adopted. The White Paper does not specify what this “additional procedural step” will be. I am sure she will agree that it is important that next week the House should have the opportunity to discuss the White Paper on the Withdrawal Agreement in advance, before the time pressure that may be on this House if we really think about the Withdrawal Agreement. As some colleagues and I pointed out in a working paper published last year, the obvious difficulty with this model is that it does not take into account the possibility of a transitional phase or, as the UK Government prefers, an `implementation phase`. The obvious solution is therefore to have two versions of the withdrawal law available to take into account two radically opposite circumstances: the version currently in the draft law, which is necessary in case of no-deal, and an alternative version, which can be activated if a withdrawal agreement with a transition period is concluded. It is this last scenario addressed by the Withdrawal Agreement, which is described in the white paper recently published by the government.

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