The Brexit White Paper

Our Brexit White Paper, published today, sets out a comprehensive and ambitious vision for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, delivering the right balance between rights and obligations. It will see the UK leave the Single Market, and the Customs Union, take back control of our borders, laws and money.


Together with an unrivalled security partnership and continued cooperation in cross-cutting areas like data, science and innovation, the White Paper honours the result of the referendum, and provides further impetus for the negotiations.  


This is the right Brexit deal: it delivers on the referendum result by getting control of our money, borders, and laws - and protects jobs and prosperity.


We will take back control of our borders, with an end to free movement. EU citizens will no longer have the unfettered ability to come to the UK to seek work. We will design an immigration system that works in our national interest


We will take back control of our money, with no more vast annual sums paid to the EU. Any future contributions will only be to enable our participation in particular activity we judge to be in our national interest.


We will take back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the United Kingdom. UK courts will no longer be able to appeal to the ECJ, and the UK Supreme Court will be the highest legal authority in the land. The ‘direct effect’ and ‘supremacy of EU law’ will end. Going forward all laws will be legislated for by the UK Parliament and Devolved legislatures.


We will leave the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy. This will give us the freedom to design new policies that work for our rural and coastal communities.


We will be free to operate our own independent international trade policy. The whole of the UK will be outside the Customs Union and Single Market, free to sign trade deals with countries around the world. We have already heard from countries such as the US and Australia that they are ready and willing to sign trade deals with the UK once it has left the EU. Switzerland, a country outside the EU but with a close relationship, has been able to strike dozens of free trade agreements with partners across the World – this is precisely what the UK will aim to do.


It will deliver friction-free trade in goods with our nearest trading partners in the EU. Businesses will be able to import and export goods across the EU frontier without impediment. 


It will support jobs across the UK. The just-in-time supply chains that underpin high skilled manufacturing jobs across the country will be able to continue without disruption.


It will ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. We will remain one United Kingdom, with a single internal market, on good terms with our nearest neighbour Ireland.


It will keep us safe. Building on our shared values, we propose continued close cooperation on security matters, while at the same time operating a fully independent foreign and defence policy, working closely with our EU and NATO allies.

  • We are asking the EU to accept a bespoke model that meets the unique requirements of the United Kingdom. Our proposal to maintain common rulebook with the EU on goods and agricultural products and to operate a Facilitated Customs Arrangement will challenge the EU but it is in our national interest:
  • The EU’s acquis on goods is stable. It has been formed through 40 years of UK membership and influence, has not changed substantially since 1987, and is in any case anchored to the realities of international trading standards in our increasingly globalised world economy.
  • The UK is committed to maintaining high standards. Leaving the EU gives us the freedom to improve and innovate in consumer and employment rights and environmental standards, not to pursue a race to the bottom.
  • Many UK businesses will continue to meet EU standards anyway. Firms which want to continue trading with the single market will continue to meet these standards in any event; making this commitment will allow the creation of a free trade zone that is good for business. 
  • Parliament will have sovereign control over future rules and regulations.  Parliament will be free to accept or reject any new rules, in the knowledge that if the UK decided to take a different approach, there may be proportionate consequences for our market access.