Leaving the EU: No Deal

Part of Leaving the Eu: No Deal – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 19th December 2018.

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Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 4:59 pm, 19th December 2018

I will just carry on for a couple more minutes and then I will happily give way to all those standing.

At the heart of the Government’s approach to preparing for a no-deal scenario is a commitment to prioritise stability for citizens, consumers and business, to ensure smooth operations of business infrastructure and public services, and to minimise any disruption to the economy. As we said on 6 December, we have made a unilateral commitment to how citizens’ rights would work in a no-deal scenario. All European Union citizens who are resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be eligible to apply for settled status. They will be able to live, work and study as they do today. The basis for qualifying for status would be the same as proposed in a deal scenario. EU citizens would have until 31 December 2020 to obtain a status under the scheme. Once granted a status, EU citizens would be able to leave the UK for up to five consecutive years without losing their right to return.

We are pleased that the EU has today encouraged member states also to make a generous offer on citizens’ rights—this is a step in the right direction—but we hope that member states will now go forward and guarantee this and that the EU will now open up engagement with us on other important issues. Let me be clear: a no-deal outcome and move to WTO terms, which some hon. Members have suggested would be preferable to a deal, would lead to disruption and potential harm to critical industries in the short term. We cannot solve the issues that may arise in a no-deal scenario, but we can, as a Government, mitigate them by prioritising continuity where possible. Indeed, continuity is a thread that runs through our no-deal plans.