UK Premier May downgrades Brexit department

Minnie Murray
July 26, 2018

Raab said his officials had answered European Union counterparts' concerns on the customs plan, part of a White Paper which May pushed through her cabinet at the expense of the resignation of Raab's predecessor and fellow Brexit campaigner David Davis.

The UK will stockpile medicine and blood supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The EU has been clear since March that it wants full autonomy and control over how United Kingdom banks operate in the bloc after Brexit, rejecting proposals for joint oversight and insisting that the system U.S. banks are subjected to, known as equivalence, is all that's on offer.

Mr Raab, however, says he is still hopeful a deal can be concluded this year.

The EU would not delegate "excises duty collection to a non-member", he said.

Raab, who became Brexit secretary just this month after David Davis's resignation, has said the United Kingdom will not pay the £39 billion divorce fee to Brussels without an European Union trade deal.

That set out in more detail the government's proposed customs system, the Facilitated Customs Arrangement for goods and agri-foods.

Labour have not ruled out backing another public vote on the UK's divorce from the EU.


But Mr Barnier said retaining control of the money, law and borders also applied to the EU's customs policy.

Speaking after talks with Mr Raab, Mr Barnier said that Theresa May's Brexit White Paper plan was a "real step forward".

Mrs May hopes free trade in goods can go on and, if Brussels says no, tariffs could be imposed under World Trade Organization rules. But he had added: "On our future economic relationship it comes as no surprise that finding common ground between the EU27 and the United Kingdom is more hard".

Her announcement has raised questions about the role and status of Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and his department, which will be left in charge of domestic preparations, such as planning for a no-deal scenario and the legislation needed for Brexit.

Mr Raab acknowledged that the Chequers plan struck a balance between the UK's ability to diverge from the European Union and the need to protect trade and address the Irish border issue.

Mrs May said: "Making Britain a country that works for everyone, in urban and rural regions, is a priority for my Government - and a thriving economy across the Northern Powerhouse is central to that".

"What I am not going to do is allow us to cower in the corner, afraid of our own shadow, about the potential that that energy and that ambition and that principle and that pragmatism isn't reciprocated on the other side".

Britain's settlement scheme will be phased in later in 2018 before its full opening by the end of March 2019 to coincide with the country's planned exit from the EU.

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