Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has resigned from the Government following the announcement of Theresa May’s new plan for Brexit, saying that she no longer believed that the Government’s Brexit approach could deliver on the referendum result.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement in the House of Commons on the new Brexit deal.
With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the Government’s work to deliver Brexit by putting forward a new deal that members of this House can stand behind. We need to see Brexit through, to honour the result of the referendum, and to deliver the change the British people so clearly demanded. I sincerely believe that most members of this House feel the same. That, for all our division and disagreement, we believe in democracy. That we want to make good on the promise we made to the British people when we asked them to decide on the future of our EU membership.
As to how we make that happen, recent votes have shown that there is no majority in this House for leaving with no deal. And this House has voted against revoking Article 50. It is clear that the only way forward is leaving with a deal – but it is equally clear that this will not happen without compromise on all sides of the debate.
That starts with the Government, which is why we have just held six weeks of detailed talks with the Opposition – talks that the Leader of the Opposition chose to end before a formal agreement was reached, but which nonetheless revealed areas of common ground. And having listened to the Opposition, to other party leaders, to the devolved administrations, to business leaders, trade unionists and others, we are now making a 10-point offer to Members across the House.
Ten changes that address the concerns raised by Hon and Rt Hon Members. Ten binding commitments that will be enshrined in legislation so they cannot simply be ignored. And 10 steps that will bring us closer to the bright future that awaits our country once we end the political impasse and get Brexit done.
First, we will protect British jobs by seeking as close to frictionless trade in goods with the EU as possible while outside the single market and ending free movement. The government will be placed under a legal duty to negotiate our future relationship on this basis.
Second, we will provide much-needed certainty for our vital manufacturing and agricultural sectors by keeping up to date with EU rules for goods and agri-food products that are relevant to checks at the border. Such a commitment – which will also be enshrined in legislation – will help protect thousands of skilled jobs that depend on just-in-time supply chains.
Third, we will empower Parliament to break the deadlock over future customs arrangements. Both the Government and Opposition agree that we must have as close as possible to frictionless trade at the UK-EU border – protecting the jobs and livelihoods that are sustained by our existing trade with the EU.
But while we agree on the ends, we disagree on the means. The Government has already put forward a proposal which delivers the benefits of a customs union but with the ability for the UK to determine its own trade and development policy. The Opposition are both sceptical of our ability to negotiate that and don’t believe an independent trade policy is in the national interest. They would prefer a comprehensive customs union – with a UK say in EU trade policy but with the EU negotiating on our behalf.
As part of the cross-party discussions the government offered a compromise option of a temporary customs union on goods only, including a UK say in relevant EU trade policy, so that the next government can decide its preferred direction. But we were not able to reach agreement – so instead we will commit in law to let Parliament decide this issue, and to reflect the outcome of this process in legislation.
Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a speech about the new Brexit deal on 21 May 2019.
I became Prime Minister almost three years ago – immediately after the British people voted to leave the European Union. My aim was – and is – to deliver Brexit and help our country move beyond the division of the referendum and into a better future. A country that works for everyone. Where everyone has the chance to get on in life and to go as far as their own talent and hard work can take them. That is a goal that I believe can still unite our country.
I knew that delivering Brexit was not going to be simple or straightforward. The result in 2016 was decisive, but it was close. The challenge of taking Brexit from the simplicity of the choice on the ballot paper to the complexity of resetting the country’s relationship with 27 of its nearest neighbours was always going to be huge.
While it has proved even harder than I anticipated, I continue to believe that the best way to make a success of Brexit is to negotiate a good exit deal with the EU as the basis of a new deep and special partnership for the future. That was my pitch to be leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. That is what I set out in my Lancaster House speech and that was what my Party’s election manifesto said in 2017. That is in essence what the Labour Party’s election manifesto stated too. And over 80% of the electorate backed parties which stood to deliver Brexit by leaving with a deal.
As expected, after more than 6 weeks of talks between the Government and Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May to announce that talks have come to an end with no agreement between the parties.
I have written to Theresa May to say that talks on finding a compromise agreement for leaving the European Union have gone as far as they can. The Government’s growing weakness and instability means there cannot be confidence in its ability to deliver.
An exchange of letters between the EU Commission and the UK setting out and confirming technical updates to the Withdrawal Agreement reflecting the extension of Article 50.
(…and you thought that the EU was not going to change the Withdrawal Agreement !!)
Also included is an updated copy of the Withdrawal Agreement reflecting these updates.
(Local copy pdf)
(Local copy pdf)
(Local copy pdf)