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Britain lays out Brexit blueprint

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May’s government published its blueprint for Brexit on Thursday after winning a first parliamentary vote on a bill that would empower her to start pulling Britain out of the EU.

London is aiming for a “new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union that works in our mutual interest”, Brexit minister David Davis said as he launched the 77-page document in parliament.

The plan says Britain will aim to create a new mechanism to settle trade disputes once it leaves the European Union and pass new immigration and customs laws.

The blueprint set out in writing the 12 negotiating objectives May laid down in a landmark speech last month.

It outlined Britain’s aims as May prepares to begin the process of officially quitting the EU following last June’s historic referendum vote.

The White Paper, which came a day after the government comfortably won a first vote on triggering the start of divorce negotiations, also said Britain will pull out of the single market in order to control immigration from the EU, which ran at 284,000 in the year to June 2016.

Britain will look to strike a new customs agreement with Brussels, enabling it to forge its own trade deals with the rest of the world, it said.

Davis said Britain wanted to build a strong, alternative partnership with Brussels.

“This government will make no attempt to remain in the EU by the backdoor, nor will we hold a second referendum on membership,” the document says.

“Instead, the strategic partnership which we seek will underpin free trade between the UK and EU… as well as the closest possible cooperation on key issues like security, foreign policy and science and technology.”

After an emotional debate on Wednesday, MPs voted by a margin of 498 to 114 in the first Brexit-related vote in parliament’s lower House of Commons.

Many pro-EU MPs voiced their anguish at voting against their own deeply-held beliefs to pass the bill, which is expected to receive final approval by the House of Lords next month. One opposition MP was heard shouting “Suicide!” as the result of the vote was announced in the chamber.

Key points from White Paper

FreeTrade Agreement: “That agreement may take in elements of current Single Market arrangements in certain areas as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when the UK and the remaining Member States have adhered to the same rules for so many years. Such an arrangement would be on a fully reciprocal basis and in our mutual interests.”

Transitional arrangements after talks: “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 believe a phased process of implementation, in which the UK, the EU institutions and Member States prepare for the new arrangements that will exist between us, will be in our mutual interest.” “This might be about our immigration controls, customs systems or the way in which we co-operate on criminal and civil justice matters. Or it might be about the future legal and regulatory framework for business.

‘Great repeal bill’: “To provide legal certainty over our exit from the EU, we will introduce the Great Repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book and convert the ‘acquis’ – the body of existing EU law – into domestic law.” “We will bring forward a White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill that provides more detail about our approach.” “Any significant policy changes will be underpinned by other primary legislation – allowing Parliament the opportunity to debate and scrutinise the changes.”

Immigration: “We are considering very carefully the options that are open to us to gain control of the numbers of people coming to the UK from the EU. As part of that, it is important that we understand the impacts on the different sectors of the economy and the labour market.

“We will, therefore, ensure that businesses and communities have the opportunity to contribute their views. Equally, we will need to understand the potential impacts of any proposed changes in all the parts of the UK.

“Implementing any new immigration arrangements for EU nationals and the support they receive will be complex and Parliament will have an important role in considering these matters further.

“There may be a phased process of implementation to prepare for the new arrangements. This would give businesses and individuals enough time to plan and prepare for those new arrangements.”

Security cooperation: It is in all our interests that we continue our deep cooperation with the EU and its Member States. As we exit, we will … look to negotiate the best deal we can with the EU to co-operate in the fight against crime and terrorism.”

courtesy : dawn news

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