Dominic Raab gave a statement to Parliament on the publication of the White Paper on Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.
With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the White Paper which has been published today, setting out the Government’s plans for legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement and the implementation period.
On Friday the 29th of March 2019, the UK will leave the European Union, giving effect to the historic decision taken by the British people in the 2016 referendum.
This Government is committed to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit. That’s why we’ve already passed the EU (Withdrawal) Act through Parliament, so we are ensuring our statute book functions after exit, whatever the outcome of the negotiations. I am grateful to the House, and the other place, for the many hours of scrutiny devoted to that vital piece of legislation.
We are now embarking on the next step in the process of delivering that smooth Brexit for the people and businesses of this country. Mr Speaker, since June last year, the UK has been negotiating with the EU to decide on the terms of our withdrawal.
We have made substantial progress: protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, deciding on the terms of the financial settlement, agreeing a strictly time-limited implementation period. Most of the Withdrawal Agreement, according to the EU side, around 80%, has now been agreed with our EU partners, and we have isolated outstanding issues for further focused negotiation. I will be meeting Michel Barnier again on Thursday, to take forward these negotiations at this critical time.
We have already agreed a financial settlement, estimated at between £35-39 billion, well below the figures being bandied around by some when we started this negotiation.
The implementation period is finite, it allows for the negotiation and conclusion of free trade deals.
Many of these arrangements will require new domestic legislation to deliver them into UK law.
And that is why, last November, we announced our intention to bring forward a new piece of primary legislation to implement the Withdrawal Agreement in UK law. So today, we are publishing a White Paper setting out our proposals for this important legislation, which will be introduced once the negotiations have concluded and Parliament has approved the final deal.