Government Sets Out Negotiating Principles for Leaving the EU

Today (17th January 2017), Prime Minster Theresa May, set out her Government’s 12 negotiating objectives for Brexit.

These objectives clearly set out how we can succeed as a nation after we leave the EU, making our country stronger and fairer in the process.

Speaking about the announcement, Richard Harrington MP for Watford, said:

Many people know that I campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, but I respect the result of the referendum last June.

I am convinced that these twelve objectives will make a success of Brexit with Britain emerging from the EU with a stronger, fairer economy that works for everyone.”

The objectives amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union.

They include a promise of certainty and clarity from the Government, along with parliamentary oversight of the final deal with the EU; taking back control of our laws and borders; protecting workers rights and the rights of EU nationals in this country; looking for free trade where possible and free trade agreements; collaboration in scientific innovation and security and finally a smooth and orderly process.

The details of the objectives are below:


  1. Certainty: whenever we can, we will provide it: The Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament.


  1. Control of our own laws: we will bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain to have full control of our own laws.


  1. Strengthen the Union: we must strengthen the precious Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom. We will work very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations.


  1. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland: we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.


  1. Control of immigration: the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain but there must be control.


  1. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU: we want to guarantee these rights as early as we can. We have told other EU leaders that we can offer EU nationals here this certainty, as long as this is reciprocated for British citizens in EU countries.


  1. Protect workers’ rights: as we translate the body of European law into our domestic regulations, we will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained.


  1. Free trade with European markets: as a priority we will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and EU member states. It cannot though mean membership of the EU’s Single Market. That would mean complying with European Court of Justice rulings, free movement and other EU rules and regulations without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are. And because we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. If we contribute to some specific EU programmes that we wish to participate in, it will be for us to decide.


  1. New trade agreements with other countries: it is time for Britain to become a global trading nation, striking trade agreements around the world. Through the Common Commercial Policy and the Common External Tariff, full Customs Union membership prevents us from doing this – but we do want to have a customs agreement with the EU and have an open mind on how we achieve this end.


  1. The best place for science and innovation: we will continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.


  1. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism: we want our future relationship with the EU to include practical arrangements on matters of law enforcement and intelligence. 


  1. A smooth, orderly Brexit: we want to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two year Article 50 process has concluded. From that point onwards, we expect a phased process of implementation. We will work to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge.