Brexit White Paper: Government publishes document setting out Theresa May's plan for leaving EU

Labour complains the paper was handed over too late to allow it to ask proper questions

Adam Withnall,Jon Sharman
Thursday 02 February 2017 13:44
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Government publishes Brexit White Paper setting out plans for leaving EU

The Government has published its White Paper setting out Theresa May's plans for leaving the European Union.

The document restates the 12 principles for Brexit that the Prime Minister set out in her Lancaster House speech last month.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told the House of Commons that the UK seeks "a new strategic partnership" for when it leaves the single market and wants trade to be "as free and frictionless as possible" in this new arrangement.

The White Paper "reiterates our firm view that we want the EU to succeed politically and economically", Mr Davis added.

But his opposite number in Labour, Keir Starmer, said he cannot thank Mr Davis for his statement, because his party has not been given early sight of the document.

The paper has been produced too late in the day, Mr Starmer said, for meaningful questions now in Commons. "That is completely unacceptable," he added.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith called those objections "nonsense".

MPs will spend Thursday poring over the White Paper setting out its Brexit strategy as the next battlegrounds in the debate over quitting the EU begin to emerge.

They will also be studying a vast list of amendments from MPs of all sides to legislation which paves the way for Ms May to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaties to begin Brexit.

The 12 points in full as set out in the White Paper are:

  • Providing certainty and clarity – We will provide certainty wherever we can as we approach the negotiations.
  • Taking control of our own laws – We will take control of our own statute book and bring an end to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK.
  • Strengthening the Union – We will secure a deal that works for the entire UK – for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and all parts of England. We remain fully committed to the Belfast Agreement and its successors.
  • Protecting our strong and historic ties with Ireland and maintaining the Common Travel Area – We will work to deliver a practical solution that allows for the maintenance of the Common Travel Area, whilst protecting the integrity of our immigration system and which protects our strong ties with Ireland.
  • Controlling immigration – We will have control over the number of EU nationals coming to the UK.
  • Securing rights for EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU – We want to secure the status of EU citizens who are already living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in other Member States, as early as we can.
  • Protecting workers’ rights – We will protect and enhance existing workers’ rights.
  • Ensuring free trade with European markets – We will forge a new strategic partnership with the EU, including a wide reaching, bold and ambitious free trade agreement, and will seek a mutually beneficial new customs agreement with the EU.
  • Securing new trade agreements with other countries – We will forge ambitious free trade relationships across the world.
  • Ensuring the UK remains the best place for science and innovation – We will remain at the vanguard of science and innovation and will seek continued close collaboration with our European partners.
  • Cooperating in the fight against crime and terrorism – We will continue to work with the EU to preserve European security, to fight terrorism, and to uphold justice across Europe.
  • Delivering a smooth, orderly exit from the EU – We will seek a phased process of implementation, in which both the UK and the EU institutions and the remaining EU Member States prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us

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