Home Office preparations for the UK exiting the EU Contents


1.In November 2018, the UK Government and EU jointly published a withdrawal agreement that set out the terms by which the UK would exit the EU in March 2019. At the same time, a non-binding political declaration was published that outlined the principles on which the future relationship between the UK and EU would be based.

2.The terms of the UK’s exit from the EU contained in the withdrawal agreement and political declaration have significant implications for UK border operations, and policing and security cooperation between the UK and EU. The withdrawal agreement also includes provisions for EU citizens already resident here, and the Government has promised an Immigration White Paper setting out the new migration arrangements for EU citizens, with implications for what reciprocal access can be expected for UK citizens seeking to live and work in the EU.

3.If the withdrawal agreement is agreed, there would be limited changes to UK border operations and policing and security cooperation during the transition period. There has not been agreement on what will happen after the transition period ends. The political declaration provides for a wide range of outcomes for UK policing and security cooperation and border operations with the EU. The more the UK intends to diverge from current processes, which are heavily aligned with the EU, the greater the amount of work the Home Office will need to do.

4.This short report looks at the provisions in the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration and assesses them against our previous reports and recommendations on policing and security, borders and immigration. It concludes that whilst the transition and protection for citizens’ rights are welcome, we have considerable concerns about the political declaration, the lack of clarity over the future partnership, and the preparedness of the Home Office to cope with the challenges ahead.

Published: 7 December 2018