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The future relationship between the UK and the EU – White Paper

The long-awaited White Paper on the Future Relationship between the UK and the EU, has been published (12 July 2018). This follows on from the contents being agreed (unanimously) by the Cabinet at the recent meeting at Chequers. The document has more than 104 pages.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-future-relationship-between-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union

The newly appointed Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, is making a statement to the House of Commons about the Brexit White Paper. The statement was interrupted and the House of Commons suspended while MPs were given copies of the white paper. John Bercow, however, rejected a further request to suspend the sitting so that MPs could have time to read the White Paper.

(in case you don’t know who Domininc Raab is …)

https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/Dominic-Raab/4007

Here’s the statement:

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement about the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

Let me start by paying tribute to my Right Honourable Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden, and his Herculean efforts along with my Honourable Friend the Member for Wycombe and the wider Dexeu team, to get us to this point in both the negotiations and the successful passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill. It is a striking achievement.

My Right Honourable Friend is a loss to Government, but I suspect, with the mildest apprehension, a considerable gain to this House.

Shortly, we will publish the Government’s White Paper on the UKs Future Relationship with the European Union. It is a new and detailed proposal for a principled, pragmatic and ambitious future partnership between the UK and the EU, in line with the policy agreed at Chequers last week.

I am placing a copy of the White Paper in the Libraries of both Houses, but let me briefly set out the key proposals. Mr Speaker, the Government is determined to build a new relationship that works for both the UK and the EU, one grounded in our shared history, but which looks to a bright and ambitious future. A relationship that delivers real and lasting benefit to both sides.

First, Mr Speaker the White Paper confirms that the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, forging a new way in the world – outside the Single Market, outside the Customs Union. It safeguards the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK. It reclaims the UK’s sovereignty. and it protects our economic interests, by minimising the risk of disruption to trade.

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill was published on 20 November 2017. The Bill is sometimes referred to as “the Customs Bill“. The Bill is one of a series intended to adjust UK legislation for Brexit. Together with the Trade Bill, this Bill is intended to allow the UK to continue its existing trade policy as far as possible immediately after Brexit.

The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill

A briefing paper has been prepared in advance of the debate in the House Commons on Monday 16 July

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8126

UK Government in Brexit meltdown ?

Is the UK Government in a Brexit meltdown? Following the meeting of the full cabinet at Chequers, which came up with an “agreed” plan for the future relationship between the UK and EU following Brexit. It appears, however, that perhaps everyone is not actually in agreement with initial skirmishes from Brexit supporting MPs considering it to be a bad “deal”.

David Davis resigns from his position as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and chief Brexit negotiator for the UK saying he could no longer support the government’s Brexit policy announced at Chequers last week.

He said it was “not tenable” for him to stay in post and try to persuade Tory MPs to back the policy when he did not think it was “workable”.

“The best person to do this is someone who really believes in it, not me.”

He was closely followed by his No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.

Number 10 has announced Dominic Raab, a Brexit-supporting minister, to replace David Davis as Brexit secretary.

Raab was previously housing minister and replaces Davis, who resigned late on Sunday night saying he could no longer support the government’s Brexit policy announced at Chequers last week.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative backbencher and chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, has said that the fact that No 10 is briefing Labour MPs on Theresa May’s Brexit policy suggests that May thinks she will have to rely on “socialist votes” to get her plan through Parliament.

Boris Johnson resigns as Foreign Secretary shortly before Theresa May makes a statement in Parliament.

In his resignation letter Johnson said

“The Brexit dream is dying”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been named as the new Foreign Secretary. In his initial comments he said

He would be standing “four square” behind the prime minister “so that we can get through an agreement with the European Union based on what was agreed by the Cabinet last week at Chequers.

(assuming, of course, that the EU negotiation team want to play ball!)

Parliamentary private secretary Chris Green, has also resigned saying in his resignation letter,

“The direction the negotiations had been taking have suggested that we would not really leave the EU and the conclusion and statements following the Chequers summit confirmed my fears.”

It seems that Theresa May has managed to head off a possible leadership challenge, at least for the time being, following a meeting with the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs. Under Conservative party rules it is necessary for 48 MPs (15% of MPs) to write a letter to Graham Brady, chair of the 1933 Committee requesting a leadership challenge.

With the addition of Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary, the most powerful positions in the cabinet PM, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary (referred to as the Great Offices of State) are now held by MPS who wanted to Remain in the EU. Looks like Theresa is setting out her intention to Remain after all.

Michael Gove has urged Tory MPs to back a compromise Brexit plan as the best chance of a “proper” exit from the EU. He told the BBC it was not all he hoped for, but said he was a “realist” and dismissed claims it would leave the UK as a “vassal state”. But he warned the EU had to be more generous or the UK would have no option than to walk away without a deal.

An option from the Chequers meeting, which is being somewhat overlooked by the mainstream media, refers to increasing preparations for a no-deal scenario resulting from negotiations with the EU. In this case, the UK would trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. Preparation for this possibility should have started 2 years ago, after Article 50 was invoked, but better late than never – this could possibly strengthen the UKs negotiating position with the EU who have proved somewhat intransigent in negotiations thus far with few if any concessions being made on their side (negotiations in “Good Faith” pah).

Alarmed at the threat of a no-deal Brexit, the Netherlands is recruiting 930 customs officers and 100 veterinary officials, following a recommendation from Pieter Omtzigt, a Dutch centre-right MP and two fellow MPs.

“The way Britain has waited so long has imposed real costs even if it is solved.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-netherlands/dutch-cabinet-drafting-playbook-for-chaotic-brexit-parliament-idUSKBN1JZ278

The European commission are being guarded in their response to the Chequers meeting, preferring to wait until it sees the British white paper, which is expected on Thursday.

In a tweet, perhaps still thinking the UK will remain in the EU, Donald Tusk said:

“Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain. I can only regret that the idea of #Brexit has not left with Davis and Johnson. But…who knows?”

Michel Barnier tweeted:

#Chequers discussion on future to be welcomed. I look forward to White Paper. We will assess proposals to see if they are workable & realistic in view of #EUCO guidelines. Next negotiations w/ #UK on WP, & Withdrawal Agreement, w/c 16 July #Brexit

Other interesting articles/reports/comments

Tony Connelly: The Chequers die is cast

EU diplomats remain guarded over May’s Brexit compromise

Prime Minister – Statement to Parliament 09 July 2018

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Theresa May – Statement to the House of Commons on 09 July 2018

http://bit.ly/2NC41IV

The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)

I am sure the House will join me in sending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dawn Sturgess, who passed away last night. The police and security services are working urgently to establish the full facts, in what is now a murder investigation. I want to pay tribute to the dedication of staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their tireless work in responding to this appalling crime. Our thoughts are also with the people of Salisbury and Amesbury. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a statement shortly, including on the support we will continue to provide to the local community throughout this difficult time.

Turning to Brexit, I want to pay tribute to my right hon. Friends the Members for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis) and for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) for their work over the last two years. We do not agree about the best way of delivering our shared commitment to honour the result of the referendum, but I want to recognise the former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for the work he did to establish a new Department and steer through Parliament some of the most important legislation for generations, and similarly to recognise the passion that the former Foreign Secretary demonstrated in promoting a global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union. I am also pleased to welcome my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Dominic Raab) as the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

On Friday at Chequers, the Cabinet agreed a comprehensive and ambitious proposal that provides a responsible and credible basis for progressing negotiations with the EU towards a new relationship after we leave on 29 March next year. It is a proposal that will take back control of our borders, our money and our laws, but do so in a way that protects jobs, allows us to strike new trade deals through an independent trade policy and keeps our people safe and our Union together.

Before I set out the details of this proposal, I want to start by explaining why we are putting it forward. The negotiations so far have settled virtually all of the withdrawal agreement, and we have agreed an implementation period that will provide businesses and Governments with the time to prepare for our future relationship with the EU. But on the nature of that future relationship, the two models that are on offer from the EU are simply not acceptable.

Boris Johnson Resignation

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A few hours after the resignation of David Davis as Secretary of State for Exiting EU, Boris Johnson has resigned as Foreign Secretary.

Here’s Boris Johnson’s resignation letter:

Dear Theresa

It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.

We have postponed crucial decisions – including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November – with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.

It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London, in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.

So at the previous Chequers session we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence from EU rules. But even that now seems to have been taken off the table, and there is in fact no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists – when that proposal is supported at every level of UK government – then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.

Conversely, the British government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health – and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.

It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.

What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.

On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and congratulated you on at least reaching a cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then, the government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat. We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.

I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your government. As I step down, I would like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me and my family, at times in demanding circumstances. I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured record international support for this government’s campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe — a continent which we will never leave.

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Here’s the reply from Theresa May:

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your letter relinquishing the office of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

I am sorry – and a little surprised – to receive it after the productive discussions we had at Chequers on Friday, and the comprehensive and detailed proposal which we agreed as a Cabinet. It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and the customs union. It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the European Union. We will be able to spend that money on our priorities instead – such as the £20 billion increase we have announced for the NHS budget, which means that we will soon be spending an extra £394 million a week on our National Health Service.

As I outlined at Chequers, the agreement we reached requires the full, collective support of Her Majesty’s Government. During the EU referendum campaign, collective responsibility on EU policy was temporarily suspended. As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down.

As you do so, I would like to place on record my appreciation of the service you have given to our country, and to the Conservative Party, as Mayor of London and as Foreign Secretary – not least for the passion that you have demonstrated in promoting a Global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union.

Yours ever,

Theresa May

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