Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab unveils legislation for on-time EU withdrawal

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab described it as "another key milestone in the UK's path to leaving the EU"

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Government has published details of the legislation it plans to use to implement the withdrawal agreement taking the UK out of the European Union next March.

Unveiling the plans in a white paper in the House of Commons, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab described it as "another key milestone in the UK's path to leaving the EU".

And he repeated his warning that the UK could withhold payment of its £39 billion "divorce bill" if the EU fails to reach agreement on its future trade relationship with the UK.

"There must be a firm commitment in the withdrawal agreement requiring the framework for the future relationship to be translated into legal text as soon as possible," Mr Raab told MPs.

"It is one part of the whole deal we are doing with our EU partners.

"And of course if one party fails to honour its side of that overall bargain, there will be consequences for the deal as a whole - and that includes the financial settlement."

The 38-page white paper sets out plans for an EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill to be brought forward after Parliament has approved a deal reached during ongoing negotiations in Brussels, to ensure its implementation in time for the March 29 2019 date of Brexit.

Initially announced last November, the Bill will create a new financial authority to manage payments to the EU over the years after Brexit

Mr Raab repeated the Government's intention to finalise the withdrawal agreement, as well as a political declaration on future UK-EU relations, in October. This would allow for the new Bill to pass through Parliament in late 2018 and early 2019.

It covers issues including the rights of EU citizens in the UK and Britons living in the remaining 27 member states, the financial settlement and the details of a transition period expected to end in December 2020. Precise details will not be known until the withdrawal agreement is concluded.

Mr Raab said the publication of the white paper will allow "maximum scrutiny" of the Government's plans by Parliament.

"By publishing the white paper today, the Government is providing further certainty to people, to businesses, here in the UK and indeed across the EU," he told MPs.

"It also sends a clear signal to the European Union that the United Kingdom is a reliable, dependable negotiating partner, delivering on the commitments it has made across the negotiation table."