I am writing to confirm that we have negotiated a new deal to leave the European Union, which means we can get Brexit done in an orderly way by 31 October. I hope you will support this new deal, so the country can come together and move on.
This new deal means we will take back control of our laws, trade, borders and money - without disruption - and provides the basis of a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and friendly cooperation while upholding high employment and environmental standards.
In securing this deal, we have achieved what many initially said was impossible. We have negotiated a new agreement which means the referendum result can be respected and Brexit can be done on 31 October.
Put simply, this new deal means:
- We will be out of all EU laws. The future relationship will be based on a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement, with zero tariffs, ensuring open and fair competition, and upholding high standards. We will be able to set our own laws in a huge number of areas — including implementing a new regime for fisheries and reforming farm subsidies to benefit farmers, the environment, and taxpayers — where we are currently bound by EU rules.
- European Court supremacy will end. Our courts, applying our laws, will be the highest authority in the land.
- We will be in control of our taxes. Except where Northern Ireland chooses to remain aligned on aspects of VAT, we will be able to change tax laws that are currently determined by Brussels.
- We will be able to strike our own free trade deals. We will have an unqualified right to strike our own trade deals around the world, and the whole of the UK will participate in them, including Northern Ireland through the special arrangements we have negotiated on customs. The Agreement explicitly states that "Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the United Kingdom".
- The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished. It is no longer possible for the whole of the UK to be held in the customs union or parts of the single market indefinitely. These aspects of the old Agreement have been completely replaced by the special arrangements for Northern Ireland (below).
The special arrangement for Northern Ireland supports and reinforces the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. Northern Ireland will be aligned with some aspects of the EU's rules on trade in goods in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Crucially, these arrangements are underpinned by the principle of democratic consent, and has the ability to leave them after four years and thereafter via a democratic vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly. So, if Northern Ireland does not like the way these special arrangements are working, they can choose to leave them.
The Government is publishing a fuller Explainer of the new deal later today.
Colleagues, after three years it is now time to get Brexit done so we can all move on and bring the country together. This new deal is a fair and reasonable compromise for all sides and allows us to move forward without disruption and in a friendly way. It guarantees free trade continues with the EU after 31 October, voters will be able to travel freely to and from the EU, UK citizens abroad will still get access to healthcare, and we will take back control of immigration policy.
I would encourage all colleagues, across the House, to support this new deal. We can get Brexit done by 31 October, and then we can focus on the people's priorities: investing in the NHS and tackling serious crime.
Explainer for the new deal
The Government's legal position on the question of terminability of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland