Leaving the Eu: Security, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:32 pm on 18th January 2017.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 5:32 pm, 18th January 2017

As my hon. Friend pointed out, there is clearly now a change in the staffing of COREPER so far as the UK is concerned. As we move closer towards Brexit, and particularly after we trigger article 50, it is inevitable that that position will develop and change.

There were a number of points made by hon. Members during the debate and in the short time available to me I would like to comment on as many of them as possible. Lyn Brown asked what guarantees can be given that security and law enforcement will not be compromised as a consequence of our departure from the EU. Of course, we have not even started the process of negotiation. We have not yet even triggered article 50. We are leaving the EU, but, as I previously indicated, co-operation on law enforcement and security with our European and global allies will remain a priority for the Government. The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have both spoken with several EU partners who have been clear about their wish to maintain strong co-operation with the United Kingdom. That is a good basis for starting the negotiation, but clearly this is very early days.

My right hon. Friend Sir Nicholas Soames made an excellent speech. He referred approvingly to the Prime Minister’s speech and made it clear that it is important the United Kingdom continues to be a close friend of the continuing EU. That is certainly the spirit in which the Government intend to approach the negotiations.

The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West and a number of other Members raised the issue of data protection in the continuing EU, and the extent to which the continuing EU would wish to, or be able to, share data with the UK. I would point out that on the day of departure, the UK’s data protection arrangements will be in perfect alignment with those of the continuing EU.