Eu: Future Relationship White Paper

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:01 pm on 12th July 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 1:01 pm, 12th July 2018

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

As we leave the EU, free movement of people will come to an end. We will control the number of people who come to our country. We will assert stronger security checks at the border. The Government will also seek a reciprocal mobility arrangement with the EU in line with the approach we intend to take with other key trading partners around the world. In practice having ended free movement, this is about enabling firms to move their top talent across borders to deliver services, facilitating travel without a visa for tourism and business trips, and making sure that our students and youngsters in the UK and the EU continue to benefit from the educational opportunities in universities and colleges—and indeed from the rich tapestry of cultural life right across the continent.

Next, the White Paper addresses Europe’s security, which has been and will remain the UK’s security. That is why the Government have made an unconditional commitment to maintain it. The Government’s proposal is for a new security partnership with the EU to tackle the shared, complex and evolving threats, enabling the UK and the EU to act together on some of the most pressing global challenges. It is important that the UK and the EU can continue operational co-operation on law enforcement and criminal justice to keep people safe right across Europe. Our proposals extend to other areas of co-operation of vital importance to the UK and the EU, including the continued protection and exchange of personal data; new arrangements on fishing; and co-operative accords on science and innovation, culture, and defence research.

When we leave the EU, the European Court will no longer have jurisdiction over this country. At the same time, we will need to be able to interpret what we have agreed accurately and consistently, and to manage any future bones of contention sensibly and responsibly. Our proposals provide for proper accountability and the consistent interpretation of UK-EU agreements by both parties. We envisage resolving disputes that may arise through arbitration. That is fair, balanced, and reflective of global practice. To provide the foundation for a new and enduring relationship, the agreement must be flexible enough to enable us to review and, if necessary, revise its operation over time in the best interests of this country, as is common in free trade agreements across the world.

I would like to make one thing very clear: we will not sign away our negotiating leverage or spend taxpayers’ money in return for nothing. The financial settlement that was agreed in December, which substantially lowered EU demands, was agreed on the basis that it would sit alongside a deep and mutually beneficial future partnership. We agreed that we would meet our commitments as they fall due, with ever-declining payments over a finite period that add up to a tiny fraction of what would have been our net contribution. Both sides have been clear that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Indeed, that is in keeping with the spirit of article 50. There should be a firm commitment in the withdrawal agreement requiring the framework for the future relationship to be translated into legal text as soon as possible. Of course, if one party fails to honour its side of the overall bargain, there will be consequences for the whole deal. For our part, today, with the publication of this White Paper, the UK Government are demonstrating, in good faith and with good will, our ambition and resolve to ensure that we do build that deep and special partnership.

The Prime Minister first outlined the blueprint for a deep and special relationship with the EU at Lancaster House, and expanded on it further in speeches in Florence, in Munich, and at Mansion House. Those speeches have shaped and continue to shape our negotiations with the EU. I am confident that a deal is within reach, given the success of the Prime Minister and her negotiating team so far. Most issues under the withdrawal agreement have by now been resolved, with a deal in place to secure the rights of over 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and about 1 million UK citizens living in the EU. We have agreed a time-limited implementation period that gives businesses, government and citizens the certainty to plan their lives and invest for the future. We will shortly publish a White Paper on the withdrawal agreement and implementation Bill setting out how we will give effect to the withdrawal agreement in domestic law and demonstrating to the EU that the UK is a dependable negotiating partner—one that will deliver on its commitments.

Our discussions with the EU will squarely focus on our shared future. This White Paper sets out how we can achieve that new partnership. Now it is time for the EU to respond in kind. We approach these negotiations with a spirit of pragmatism, compromise and, indeed, friendship. I hope and trust that the EU will engage with our proposals in the same spirit, and I plan to meet Michel Barnier next week to discuss the detail in person.

At the same time, the Government are preparing in the event that that spirit of pragmatism and good will is not reciprocated. On Monday I spoke with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and we agreed to step up our planning for the no deal scenario so that the UK is ready for Brexit no matter what the outcome of these negotiations is. That is the responsible thing for a Government to do.

This White Paper sets out the right Brexit deal, delivering on the result of the referendum; taking back control over our money, laws and borders; supporting the economy by maintaining a strong trading relationship after we have left; ending free movement while avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or indeed between Northern Ireland and Great Britain; restoring sovereignty to Parliament and the authority of the UK Supreme Court; seizing the opportunity to forge new trade deals around the world; and maintaining co-operation with the EU in the many other areas that we prize, including security co-operation to keep our people safe. This is our vision for a bold, ambitious and innovative new partnership with the EU. Principled and practical, faithful to the referendum, it delivers a deal that is good for the UK and good for our EU friends. I commend this statement and the White Paper to the House.