By Mark McKeown, Associate and Hannah Starritt, Solicitor

After the UK Supreme Court’s decision in the Miller case, the UK Government must now table legislation to allow both houses of the UK Parliament to vote on the invoking of Article 50.

Before the Court reached its decision, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave a speech setting out the UK Government’s “Plan for Britain” and negotiating priorities for the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU). According to the Prime Minister, the UK Government will aim to create a “new, strong, constructive partnership” with the EU.

The text of the speech can be found here.

Stating that, as negotiations proceed, the UK Government will seek to “provide as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage”, the Prime Minister confirmed that the priorities for the negotiations with the EU will include:

  • Strengthening the union between the four nations of the UK – the UK Government has set up a Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations, so ministers from each of the UK’s devolved administrations can contribute to the process of planning for the UK’s exit from the EU. The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of working carefully to ensure that powers currently in the jurisdiction of the European Parliament are appropriately returned to the UK Parliament or to the devolved legislatures.
  • A Free Trade Agreement with the EU – the UK Government’s proposal is not continued membership of the Single Market but an alternative agreement between the UK and the EU to allow for the trade of goods and services in as free a manner as possible. The Prime Minister noted that ceasing to be a member of the Single Market would stop the UK’s financial contribution to the EU budget.
  • New trade agreements with countries outside the EU – “A Global Britain” was described as being free to enter into trade deals with countries from outside the EU too. This is seen as a priority, with Liam Fox MP leading the Department of International Trade.
  • Tariff Free Trade with the EU – the Prime Minister stated that the UK Government aims to put in place tariff-free, frictionless cross-border trade with both the EU and the rest of the world. This means Britain leaving the EU Customs Union and no longer being bound by the Common External Tariff and the Common Commercial Policy.
  • Maintaining the Common Travel Area between the UK and the Irish Republic – there has been a Common Travel Area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland for many years. The Prime Minster emphasised the need to deliver a practical solution to maintaining the Common Travel Area.
  • Continuing the sharing of intelligence and policing information between the UK and EU – the UK Government is keen to cooperate with the EU in the areas of foreign affairs, crime and terrorism.
  • Controlling immigration to the UK from the EU – the Prime Minister noted that, after the UK’s exit from the EU, the UK will have control of the number of people coming to Britain from the EU, and emphasised the benefit in attracting the brightest and best to work and study in Britain.
  • Guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and of UK citizens in the EU – this is seen as a priority in the negotiations, in order to give EU and UK citizens clarity and certainty on their status.
  • Protecting workers’ rights – the Prime Minister stated that on the translation of EU law into UK law, there will be a focus on maintaining protection for workers' rights.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the Government’s plan for the negotiations will be put to vote in both houses of the UK Parliament.