Latest Public Sector News

16.01.17

Brexit committee urges government to set out plans by mid-February

The government should set out its Brexit plans by mid-February in the form of a White Paper and hold a parliamentary vote on the final deal, parliament’s cross-party Brexit committee has stressed.

The first report by the Exiting the European Union Committee (EEUC), the parliamentary committee created to scrutinise Brexit, also calls for no return for tariffs for UK businesses and for the government to outline a framework on the country’s future trading relationship with the EU.

The committee said that the framework should be drawn up if a final agreement is not reached by the time the UK leaves the EU and should include “appropriate transitional arrangements” in the interests of continuing business between the parties.

“This is going to be a hugely complex task and the outcome will affect us all,” said Hilary Benn MP, chair of the EEUC. “The government needs to publish its Brexit plan by mid-February at the latest, including its position on membership of the single market and the customs union, so that it can be scrutinised by parliament and the public.

“Whatever deal is concluded, Parliament must be given a vote on it and the government should make this clear now."

The committee has warned that a return to tariffs or similar impediments to trade, particularly to the financial services industry, “would not be in the interests” of businesses in the UK or the EU and it has therefore urged the government to avoid this outcome in its negotiations.

MPs have also argued that the government should assure the position of EU citizens currently resident in the UK and Britons currently living in the EU, along with continued co-operation on defence, foreign policy and security and clarity around Northern Ireland’s border arrangements.

The EEUC has stressed that the government’s plan must be published in mid-February to give MPs time to scrutinise it properly before Article 50 is triggered, with the prime minister Theresa May set to trigger the article by the end of March this year.

“We're not asking the government to give away its red lines or negotiating fall back positions, but we do want clarity on its broad aims given the significance and complexity of the negotiating task,” Benn added.

“This White Paper must be published by mid-February to give Parliament and the devolved governments time to scrutinise it."

Due to the complexity and scale of delivering Brexit, all four nations of the UK are represented on the EEUC, with devolved governments also set to be involved in discussions around the proposed Great Repeal Bill which will annul EU law’s effect in the UK.

The triggering of Article 50 may yet be delayed due to the ongoing court case R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, which may force the government to also open up the decision to trigger to Parliament. The Supreme Court is due to express its final judgment shortly.

Dr Hannah White, research director at the Institute for Government, said that the report recognises the challenges faced by the government in preparing for Brexit, particularly the need for departments to be given greater clarity and resources.

With May set to deliver a major speech this Tuesday (17 January) outlining the government’s vision for Brexit, White said that the prime minister should use the speech to address these challenges.

“She needs to either set out the UK’s negotiating objectives, or explain when she intends to set them out,” added White. “She should also use Tuesday’s speech as an opportunity to clarify parliament’s role in the Brexit process.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

11/03/2019Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

The decline of the Great British high street has been one of the greatest c... more >
Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

11/03/2019Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

Steve Cains, head of power solutions at Public Power Solutions, the wholly-... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welco... more >

the raven's daily blog

Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

18/03/2019Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, outlines his organisation’s campaign to make sure local government tops to government’s list for this ye... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >