The ardent Brexiteer demanded Mr Barclay explain to him when the transition policy had changed to become non-time limited. Mr Barclay began: “On your first point” – but he didn’t make it very far. Mr Bone snapped: “No, no. I don’t want the waffle, when did it change?”
The MP for North East Cambridgeshire tentatively continued: “Well, I mean there were several points you raised so I was just going to go through the different ones.
“You raise the issue in terms of whether the implementation period is time limited. I think the answer to that is yes, it is, to the end of 2020.”
But Mr Bone shot back: “No it’s not! No, no come on – you can’t get away with that!
“You know that there’s an option to extend that – so it’s not time limited is it?”
“Well, I was just coming onto that – never mind trying to get away with it, I was just trying to make my point.
“So the point I was seeking to make, if I may, was that it was time limited to the end of 2020.
“But with an extension of either one year or two years, but even so, by its nature that is time-limited.
“I would hope that is a point of consensus.”
But Mr Bone refused to back down, exclaiming: “No, the Prime Minister said it was time limited to two years.
“When was it changed? When was it changed? That’s all I’m asking.
“Mr Robbins, when was the policy changed?”
Olly Robbins, the Prime Minister’s Europe Advisor, also looked utterly baffled by the simple question.
He stuttered: “Errr – sorry the … the policy on the implementation period for some time has been that we would aim to have concluded all the negotiations on the future relationship in order to allow it to take effect in December 2020.
“And that’s what the treaty sets out.
“And in the closing weeks of negotiations, ministers felt it was prudent to allow for the possibility of extension.
“It’s no more than a possibility and it has to be by mutual consent.”