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Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement

The White Paper on Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union sets out how the Government will implement the final Withdrawal Agreement we reach with the EU in UK law.


The White Paper confirms that the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will:

  • be the primary means by which the rights of EU citizens will be protected in UK law
  • legislate for the time-limited implementation period
  • create a financial authority to manage the specific payments to be made under the financial settlement, with appropriate Parliamentary oversight

Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union (PDF)

The Future UK-EU Relationship

The Government today (23 July 2018) published a White Paper, The Future UK-EU Relationship presented as a series of slides and may be an attempt to summarise the formal 104 page White Paper “The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union” issued earlier.


This proposal builds on the vision for our future relationship set out by the Prime Minister at Mansion House and in Munich, and is comprised of four parts:

  • economic partnership
  • security partnership
  • cross-cutting and other cooperation
  • institutional arrangements

The Future UK-EU Relationship (pdf)

EU preparations for Brexit – Press Release 19 July 2018

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, 19 July 2018.

Press Release

Brussels, 19 July 2018

The European Commission has today adopted a Communication outlining the ongoing work on the preparation for all outcomes of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

On 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and become a third country. This will have repercussions for citizens, businesses and administrations in both the United Kingdom and the EU. These repercussions range from new controls at the EU’s outer border with the UK, to the validity of UK-issued licences, certificates and authorisations and to different rules for data transfers.

Today’s text calls on Member States and private parties to step up preparations and follows a request by the European Council (Article 50) last month to intensify preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes.

While the EU is working day and night for a deal ensuring an orderly withdrawal, the UK’s withdrawal will undoubtedly cause disruption – for example in business supply chains – whether or not there is a deal. As there is still no certainty that there will be a ratified withdrawal agreement in place on that date, or what it will entail, preparations have been ongoing to try to ensure that the EU institutions, Member States and private parties are prepared for the UK’s withdrawal. And in any event, even if an agreement is reached, the UK will no longer be a Member State after withdrawal and will no longer enjoy the same benefits as a member. Therefore, preparing for the UK becoming a third country is of paramount importance, even in the case of a deal between the EU and the UK.

Having said that, preparing for the UK’s withdrawal is not only the responsibility of the EU institutions. It is a joint effort at EU, national and regional levels, and also includes in particular economic operators and other private parties – everyone must now step up preparations for all scenarios and take responsibility for their specific situation.

Mutiny in the Ranks

Following the Olly Robbins Theresa May plan agreed at Chequers, there have been rumours of an attempt to remove Theresa May as PM

It remains unclear whether the number of Conservative MPs (48) required to force a no-confidence vote in May will be found and even then whether the vote would be successful when more than half of the party’s MPs (316) would be needed.

Arguments within the Tory party spilled over into amendments and votes on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill on 16 July 2018 and the Trade Bill on 17 July 2018. However, the Government succeeded in getting both Bills through their 3rd Reading Stage.

Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill

Debate on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill continued on 16 July

Bill stages — Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill 2017-19

Brexit supporting Conservative MPs submitted four amendments to the Government’s Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill. These amendments were all accepted by the Government which angered MPs from the Remainer rebels who voted against the Government.

One amendment called for the UK to refuse to collect duties for the EU unless member states do likewise (New Clause 36)

This went to a vote with 305 votes for and 302 against – with 14 Tory rebels voting against the Government.

Another amendment required the UK to have an independent regime for VAT.

This also went to a vote with 303 votes for and 300 against – with 11 Tory rebels voting against the Government.

The other amendments accepted by the Government were to agree to a commitment to never having a border in the Irish sea and to require the Government to draw up primary legislation if the UK wants to remain in the EU customs union.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) finally passed its 3rd Reading in the House of Commons by 318 in favour to 285 against on the 16 July 2018

3rd reading: House of Commons 16 July, 2018


Debate on the Trade Bill continued on 17 July and Tory rebels supported an amendment in favour of creating a customs union with the EU, which was subsequently defeated.

Bill stages — Trade Bill 2017-19

New Clause 17

This new clause would ensure that it is a negotiating objective for the UK Government to secure an international agreement through which the UK may continue to participate in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the EU, EEA and the European Medicines Agency, ensuring that patients continue to have access to high-quality, effective and safe pharmaceutical and medical products, fully aligned with the member states of the EU and EEA.

The Government lost the vote on this amendment, tabled by the Tory MP Philip Lee.

The vote was

305 votes in favour to 301 against.

New clause 18

This new clause would make it a negotiating objective of the UK to establish a free trade area for goods between the UK and the EU and if that cannot be agreed then it should be the objective of the UK to secure an agreement to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.

The vote was

301 in favour with 307 votes against

The Trade Bill passed its 3rd Reading in the House of Commons by 317 in favour to 286 against on the 17 July 2018

3rd reading: House of Commons 17 July, 2018


3 Labour Pro-Brexit MPs rebelled against their party by voting with the Government were

Frank Field
Kate Hoey
Graham Stringer

The Pro-EU Conservative rebel MPs were:

Heidi Allen
Guto Bebb
Richard Benyon
Jonathan Djanogly
Dominic Grieve
Stephen Hammond
Philip Lee
Nicky Morgan
Robert Neill
Mark Pawsey
Antoinette Sandbach
Anna Soubry
Sarah Wollaston

Boris Johnson – Personal Statement 18 July 2018

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Following his resignation as Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson made a personal statement to Parliament on 18 July 2018.

Here is a copy of his speech in full:

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting me this opportunity, first to pay tribute to the men and women of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have done an outstanding job over the last two years. I am very proud that we have rallied the world against Russia’s barbaric use of chemical weapons, with an unprecedented 28 countries joining together to expel 153 spies in protest at what happened in Salisbury.

We have rejuvenated the Commonwealth with a superb summit that saw Zimbabwe back on the path to membership and Angola now wanting to join. As I leave, we are leading global campaigns against the illegal wildlife trade and in favour of 12 years of quality education for every girl, and we have the Union flag going up in nine new missions in the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa, and more to come. We have overtaken France to boast the biggest diplomatic network of any European country.

None of this would have been possible without the support of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. Everyone who has worked with her will recognise her courage and resilience, and it was my privilege to collaborate with her in promoting global Britain, a vision for this country that she set out with great clarity at Lancaster House on 17 January last year: a country eager, as she said, not just to do a bold, ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, out of the customs union and out of the single market, but to do new free trade deals around the world. I thought that was the right vision then; I think so today.

But in the 18 months that have followed, it is as though a fog of self-doubt has descended. Even though our friends and partners liked the Lancaster House vision-it was what they were expecting from an ambitious partner, what they understood-and even though the commentators and the markets liked it-the pound soared, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will have observed-we never actually turned that vision into a negotiating position in Brussels.