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Brexit: Trade in Non-financial Services (EUC Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:45 pm on 18th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 10:45 pm, 18th December 2017

My Lords, it is a privilege to respond to the debate today on the Select Committee’s report, Brexit: Trade in Non-financial Services. I am conscious of the late hour so while I will endeavour to respond to as many as possible of the points that have been made, if I miss one or two then I will look at the record and will be happy to write to noble Lords to respond to them.

I put on record my appreciation of the work of the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee, chaired so excellently by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, who provided an excellent introduction to our debate today. Indeed, I thank all noble Lords for their excellent contributions; I think everyone spoke extremely well. Obviously I do not agree with every point that has been made, but nevertheless I think it has generally been an extremely constructive debate. The committee’s expertise and strength of analysis is clearly demonstrated in the report.

First, I shall deal with a point that has rightly been raised by the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, and other noble Lords. I recognise the frustration that the Government have not yet provided a response to the report. The Brexit negotiations are the most important negotiations that our country faces, and reaching a new partnership with the EU is in the interests of both sides. As such, the timing of any information that we publish is carefully considered to support the UK’s negotiators in securing the best possible outcome, a point that my predecessor mentioned in her letter to the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, on 26 October this year. However, I assure noble Lords that a response to the committee is now in full preparation, and we will fully reflect policy developments and the progress of the negotiations in that. I expect to be able to publish it early in the new year.