On 2nd February the UK Government published a White Paper setting out its objectives for the upcoming negotiations with the European Union and beyond. It was presented to Parliament a day after the House of Commons approved the Bill which, once it receives the Royal Assent after its passage through Parliament, will enable the UK Government formally to initiate the process of leaving the European Union. Whilst the White Paper restates the 12-point plan set out in Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech last month, it adds some further detail.
What is striking is the degree to which the Government prioritises continuity in a number of key areas, including trade, regulation and research. Though EU laws and institutions will cease to govern the United Kingdom after Brexit, the Government appears intent on achieving an outcome which preserves a number of features of the existing arrangements, stating openly that that “it makes no sense to start again from scratch”.