Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:51 pm on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 3:51 pm, 9th January 2019

My noble friend makes a good point, but important negotiations have been going on on these matters and we continue to discuss these matters with our EU partners. We hope to bring further clarifications before the vote.

The withdrawal agreement and political declaration demonstrate our joint commitment to a future partnership that reflects the depth of our shared history and values. It is right, as the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, among others, reminded us in the first debate, that this future partnership should work in the best interests of the country and for all generations in it. This deal delivers on the result of the referendum by restoring sovereign control over our borders, laws and money. It protects jobs and the vital security co-operation with our European neighbours, and it delivers certainty for businesses and citizens. This is a deal which, if passed in the other place, will ensure that our exit is smooth and orderly, and delivers in the national interest.

This deal delivers in securing the rights of EU citizens living and working in the United Kingdom, who make such a valuable contribution to our society, economy and public services. That contribution was highlighted by noble Lords, including the noble Baronesses, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer and Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, and the noble Lord, Lord Cashman. This deal delivers on that commitment and secures the rights of 3.5 million EU citizens living and working in the UK and those nearly 800,000 UK nationals living and working in the EU, so that they can continue living their lives broadly as they do now.

The noble Baroness, Lady O’Neill, rightly raised the important question of Irish citizens’ rights in the UK, particularly those who may be without a passport. The Government will ensure that these rights will continue to be protected when we leave the EU, no matter what the terms of our departure.

The noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, spoke passionately about immigration and freedom of movement. We shall introduce a skills-based immigration system, built around the talents and skills that a person has to offer, not solely on where they come from.

This deal ensures there will be an end to the billions of pounds we send to Brussels every year, allowing us to invest in our domestic priorities. It means that we will leave the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy. We will once again be in control of our immigration policy.

Let me turn now to the political declaration, which sets out the terms of our future relationship. The noble Lords, Lord Mendelsohn and Lord Livermore, and my noble friend Lord Howard of Rising spoke about the impact of leaving the EU on the economy.