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12.07.16

IfG: Ministry for Brexit should be housed within Cabinet Office

Creating a separate ministry to oversee Britain’s exit from the European Union could be too time-consuming and costly, the Institute for Government (IfG) has said.

The report comes as home secretary Theresa May (pictured attending a Cabinet meeting this morning) is due to take over from David Cameron as prime minister from tomorrow.

May has said that she favours appointing a ‘minister for Brexit’ to oversee the transition following last month’s referendum result.

The IfG said that if the minister’s responsibilities are focused on negotiating Brexit, then they should be supported by a dedicated Cabinet Office unit.

If the minister has wider responsibilities for areas such as trade, then a new Ministry for Brexit may be needed, but this could be established separately from the Cabinet Office at a later date, once attention moves from the negotiations to the implementation phase.

Julian McCrae, deputy director of the IfG, said: “Preparing for, negotiating and implementing Britain’s exit from the European Union will inevitably preoccupy Whitehall and the new government in the coming months and years.

“Theresa May will soon be deciding how to organise Whitehall to negotiate and implement Britain’s exit from the EU. The arguments point strongly to appointing a dedicated Cabinet Minister for Brexit.

“If the new PM does decide to create a new Ministry, then this should be housed in the Cabinet Office initially to avoid the vital first few months being dominated by the cost and distraction of setting up a new organisation from scratch.”

(Image c. Kirsty Wigglesworth from AP Photo)

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