[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text
version below transcribed directly from audio]
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And with permission, I
would like to make a Statement on the conclusion of our
negotiations to leave the European Union.
yesterdayís Special European
Council in Brussels, I reached a deal with the leaders of the
other 27 EU Member States on a
Withdrawal Agreement1 that will
ensure our smooth and orderly departure on the 29th March next year;
and, tied to this Agreement, a
Political Declaration2 on an
ambitious future partnership that is in our national interest.
Mr. Speaker, this is the right deal
for Britain because it delivers on the democratic
the British people.
It takes back control of our
borders. It ends the free movement of people in full once and
for all, allowing the government to introduce a new skills-based
It takes back control of our laws.
It ends the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the
UK, and means instead of our laws -- instead our laws being made
in our Parliaments,
enforced by our courts.
And it takes back control of our
money. It ends the vast annual payments we send to Brussels. So
instead we can send -- spend taxpayersí money on our own priorities,
including the 394 million pounds a week of extra investment into our
long-term plan for the National Health Service.
By creating a new Free Trade Area
with no tariffs, fees, charges, quantitative restrictions or
rules of origin checks, this deal protects jobs, including those
that rely on integrated supply chains.
It protects our security with a
close relationship on defense and on tackling crime and
terrorism, which will help to keep all our people safe.
And it protects the integrity of
our United Kingdom, meeting our commitments in Northern Ireland
and delivering for the whole UK family, including our Overseas
Territories and the Crown Dependencies.
Mr. Speaker, on Gibraltar, we have
worked constructively with the governments of Spain and
Gibraltar -- and I want -- I want to pay tribute in particular to
Gibraltarís Chief Minister
Fabian Picardo for his statesmanship
in these negotiations.
We have ensured that Gibraltar is
covered by the whole Withdrawal Agreement and by the
And for the future partnership,
the UK government will be negotiating for the whole UK family,
As Fabian Picardo said this
weekend (and I quote):
Every aspect of the response of
the United Kingdom was agreed with the Government of Gibraltar.
We have worked seamlessly together in this as we have in all
other aspects of this two year period of negotiation. Most
importantly, the legal text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement
has not been changed. That is what the Spanish Government
[has] repeatedly sought. But they have not achieved that. The United
Kingdom has not let us down.3
Mr. Speaker, our message to the
people of Gibraltar is clear: We will always stand by you. We
are proud that Gibraltar is British and our position on
sovereignty has not and will not change.
Mr. Speaker, the Withdrawal
Agreement will ensure that we leave the European Union on the 29th
of March next year in a smooth and orderly way.
It protects the rights of EU
citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU,4 so
they can carry on living their lives as before.
It delivers a time-limited
Implementation Period to give business time to prepare for the
new arrangements. During the Implementation Period trade will
continue on current terms so businesses only have to face one
set of changes. It ensures a fair settlement of our financial
obligations -- less than half of what some originally expected
And it meets our commitment to
ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and
Ireland -- and also no customs border in the Irish Sea -- in the
event that the future relationship is not ready by the end of
the Implementation Period.
Mr. Speaker, I know some Members
remain concerned that we could find ourselves stuck in this
So let me address this directly.
First, this is an insurance policy
that no one wants to use.
Both the UK and the EU are fully
committed -- Both the UK and the EU are fully committed to having our future relationship in place by
of January 2021.
And the Withdrawal Agreement has a
legal duty on both sides to use best endeavors to avoid the
backstop ever coming into force.
If, despite this, the future
relationship is not ready by the end of 2020, we would not be
forced to use the backstop. We would have a clear choice between
the backstop or a short extension to the Implementation Period.
If we did choose the backstop, the
legal text is clear that it should be temporary and that the
Article 50 legal base cannot provide for a permanent
And there is now more flexibility
that it can be superseded either by the future relationship, or
by alternative arrangements which include the potential for
facilitative arrangements and technologies to avoid a hard
border on the island of Ireland. There is also a termination
clause, which allows the backstop to be turned off when we have
fulfilled our commitments on the Northern Ireland border. And
there is a unilateral right to trigger a review through the
Joint Committee and the ability to seek independent arbitration
if the EU does not use good faith in this process.
Furthermore, as a result of the
changes we have negotiated, the legal text is now also clear
that once the backstop has been superseded, it shall "cease to
So if a future Parliament decided
to then move from an initially deep trade relationship to a
looser one, the back[stop] could not return.
Mr. Speaker, I do not pretend that
either we or the EU are entirely happy with these arrangements.
And thatís how it must be. Were either party entirely happy,
that party would have no incentive to move on to the future
But there is no alternative deal
that honors our commitments to Northern Ireland which does not
involve this insurance policy. And the EU would not have agreed
any future partnership without it.
Put simply, there is no deal that
comes without a backstop, and without a backstop there is no
Mr. Speaker, the Withdrawal
Agreement is accompanied by a Political Declaration, which sets
out the scope and terms of an ambitious future relationship
between the UK and the EU.
It is a detailed set of
instructions to negotiators that will be used to deliver a legal
agreement on our future relationship after we have left.
The linkage clause between the
Withdrawal Agreement and this Declaration requires both sides to
use best endeavors to get this legal text agreed and
implemented by the end of 2020.
And both sides are committed to
making preparations for an immediate start to the formal
negotiations after our withdrawal.
The declaration contains specific
detail on our future economic relationship.
This includes a new
Area with no tariffs, fees, quantitative restrictions or rules
of origin checks -- an unprecedented economic relationship that
no other major economy has.
It includes liberalization in
trade in services well beyond WTO [World Trade Organization] commitments and building on
recent EU Free Trade Agreements.
It includes new arrangements for
our financial services sector -- ensuring market access cannot be
withdrawn on a whim and providing stability and certainty for
our world-leading industry.
And it ensures that we will leave EU
programs that do not work in our interests: so we will be out
Common Agricultural Policy that has failed our farmers
and out of the
Common Fisheries Policy that has failed our
Instead -- Instead, as the Political
Declaration sets out, we will be "an independent coastal state"
once again. We will take back full sovereign control over our
waters, so we will be able to decide for ourselves who we allow
to fish in our waters.
The EU have maintained throughout
this process that they wanted to link overall access to markets
to access to fisheries. They failed in the Withdrawal Agreement,
and they failed again in the Political Declaration.
It is no surprise some are already
trying to lay down markers again for the future relationship,
but they should be getting used to the answer by now: It is not
going to happen.
Finally, the Declaration is clear
that whatever is agreed in the future partnership must recognize
the development of an independent UK trade policy beyond this
So for the first time in 40
years, the UK will be able to strike new trade deals and open up
new markets for our goods and services in the fastest growing
economies around the world.
Mr. Speaker, as I set out for the
House last week, the future relationship also includes a
comprehensive new security partnership with close reciprocal law
enforcement and judicial cooperation to keep all our people
At the outset we were told that
being outside of free movement and outside of the
we would be treated like any other non-EU state on security.
But this deal delivers the
broadest security partnership in the EUís history, including
arrangements for effective data exchange on Passenger Name
Records, DNA, fingerprints, and vehicle registration data, as
well as extradition arrangements like those in the
And it opens the way to sharing
the types of information included in the ECRIS [European
Criminal Records Information System] and SIS II [Second
Generation Schengen Information System]
databases on wanted or missing persons and criminal records.
Mr. Speaker, this has been a long
and complex negotiation.
It has required give and take on
both sides. And that is the nature of a negotiation.
But this deal honors the result
of the referendum while providing a close economic and security
relationship with our nearest neighbors, and in so doing offers
a brighter future for the British people outside of the EU.
And I can say to the House with
absolute certainty that there is not a better deal available. My
fellow leaders -- My fellow leaders were very clear on that themselves yesterday.
Our duty as a
Parliament over these coming weeks is to examine this deal in
detail, to debate it respectfully, to listen to our constituents,
and decide what is in our national interest.
There is a choice which this House
will have to make.
We can back this deal, deliver on
the vote of the referendum, and move on to building a brighter
future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people; or this House can choose to reject
this deal and go back to square one. Because no one knows what
would happen if this deal doesnít pass, it would open the door
to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that
Mr. Speaker, I believe our national
interest is clear.
The British people want us to get
on with a deal that honors the referendum and allows us to come
again together -- allows us to come together again as a country, whichever way we voted.
That is -- This is that deal -- a deal that
delivers for the British people, and I commend this Statement to