Prime Minister tells the Commons the “ball is back” in the EU’s court

Parliament returned to the Chamber today after recess to a statement from the Prime Minister, Theresa May on Brexit.

Parliament returned to the Chamber today after recess to a statement from the Prime Minister, Theresa May on Brexit. The UK Government is focusing its attention on:

  • Seeking a unique trading agreement for the UK, whilst simultaneously dismissing membership of the European Economic Area or a “Canadian” style free trade agreement. The terms of the agreement sought by the UK remain vague. It is however clear that the Prime Minister does not want to "settle for a model adopted by other countries".
  • A transitional period as referred to in the Prime Minister’s Florence speech. The Prime Minister accepted that businesses want certainty during implementation of new agreements post 29 March 2019. However, the period of transition is far from certain. The Prime Minister spoke of a double lock with a strictly limited time period of transition but then confirmed the period would be “around 2 years”.
  • Free movement of EU nationals in the UK will be subject to a registration system during the transitional period.
  • The resolution of the EU budget as part of the entirety of the negotiations between the UK and EU. Is the UK Government withdrawing from earlier concessions and standing firm on negotiating all or nothing?
  • The EU Withdrawal Bill which will shortly enter a whole house committee stage for, what is rumoured to be an 8 day debate. A date is expected imminently
  • The publication by the UK Government of two White papers today on trade and customs.

The Prime Minister reported that during her bilateral discussions with several EU leaders, she has been advised that the EU is welcoming of the tone of the Florence speech and the progress made towards Brexit. In response, The Prime Minister has made clear that the ball is firmly back in the EU’s court. However, this speech has provided little reassurance for the insurance and financial service sectors which eagerly awaits further clarity.

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