Creagh – Davis contradicts his Cabinet colleagues over EU regulators

The UK will remain a member of all EU regulators and agencies during the Brexit transition period, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis has said today.

In a speech at UBS, David Davis said: “And, that is why the Prime Minister set out in her Florence speech that we want to secure a time-limited implementation period, some call it a transition period, which can be agreed under Article 50 and would mean access to the United Kingdom and European markets would continue on current terms — including for financial services. That means staying in all the EU regulators and agencies during this period, which we expect will be about two years.

This is at odds with previous statements by Ministers pledging that Britain will leave certain EU programmes, such as the Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy, in March 2019.

Commenting, Mary Creagh MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said: 

“Remaining within EU agencies is vital for everything from medicines to aviation, and for thousands of jobs across the country, so the Brexit secretary's statement that we will stay in all EU regulators and agencies is welcome.

“It flatly contradicts many of his Cabinet colleagues, including the Prime Minister, who have said since the Florence speech that we will leave certain frameworks – such as the Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy – in March 2019.

“The chaos in the Cabinet, and the weakness of the Prime Minister, means policy on Brexit changes with the weather so we will see if this is still Government policy in the morning.

“But losing the ability to influence and shape the rules is the opposite of taking back control. That’s why people should keep an open mind about the course we are taking.” 

/ends

Notes to editors:

David Davis’ speech is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/david-davis-speech-at-ubs

Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister, have said the UK will leave the Common Fisheries Policy and Common Agricultural Policy in March 2019:

Theresa May, 11 October 2017: “[W]hen we leave the European Union, we will leave the common fisheries policy.”

Source: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2017-10-11d.321.2&s=%22when+we+leave+the+european+union%22+fisheries#g330.4

Lord Duncan, Scotland Office Minister, 27 October 2017: “The secretary of state (Michael Gove) has been very clear that he believes farming and fishing should not be part of any transitional deal.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-41775222

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 02 July 2017: “When we leave the European Union we will become an independent political state and that means that we can then extend control of our waters up to 200 miles or the median line between Britain and France, and Britain and Ireland.”

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/02/uk-take-back-control-london-fisheries-convention-michael-gove

George Eustice, Minister of State for Farming, 26 October 2017: “[W]hen we leave the European Union we will leave the common fisheries policy, and we leave the EU in March 2019.”

Source: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-10-26/debates/70CC6A78-8452-4051-9C21-779CE77A9001/LeavingTheEUCommonFisheriesPolicy    

But leaving both the CFP and the CAP would require leaving EU regulatory agencies, which David Davis has said we will not do until the transitional period ends:

The Common Fisheries Policy is regulated by the European Fisheries Control Agency: https://www.efca.europa.eu/en/content/objectives-and-strategy

The Common Agricultural Policy is regulated by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency: http://ec.europa.eu/chafea/

Previous research by Open Britain has found that Ministers have no idea of the cost or staffing requirements of new British agencies which would need to perform tasks currently done by EU agencies: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mary-creagh-eu-agencies_uk_5a003b1be4b0baea263318c6?6a