You are here:

House of Lords Library

Leaving the European Union: Future UK-EU Relationship

Published Friday, November 25, 2016

This House of Lords Library briefing has been prepared in advance of a debate that is scheduled to take place in the House on 1 December 2016 on the best options for the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union following the referendum vote to leave.

Jump to full report >>

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has confirmed that the Government intend to pursue a bespoke agreement between the UK and EU during the forthcoming negotiation on the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc. The Prime Minister has also stated that the Government will not be providing a "running commentary" on the negotiation, despite calls from other parties for more details on the Government’s negotiating strategy. However, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, has set out the Government’s four "overarching strategic objectives" for the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union and for the future relationship between the UK and the EU:

  • Bringing back control of our laws to Parliament.
  •  Bringing back control of decisions over immigration to the UK.
  • Maintaining the strong security cooperation we have with the EU.
  • Establishing the freest possible market in goods and services with the EU and the rest of the world.

This briefing explores each of these four objectives. It identifies a number of possible options available to the Government in trying to meet them and sets out some of the issues that may arise in each area. Issues covered in the first section on law making include the role of Parliament in invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in repealing and reviewing domestic legislation before and after the UK’s withdrawal, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union following the UK’s exit, and the possible effect of the withdrawal on the devolved administrations. The second section on immigration considers whether the UK may maintain free movement of people in any future agreement with the EU and examines the potential impact of the UK’s withdrawal on both UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. The third section on security cooperation discusses whether current security arrangements between the UK and the EU, including the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Common Security and Defence Policy and police and security cooperation, will remain following the UK’s exit. The fourth section on trade considers the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU and the rest of the world after withdrawal, including issues relating to the uncertainty raised by the forthcoming negotiation and the possible implications for different sectors of any change in the level of access to the single market following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

In light of the high degree of uncertainty surrounding the UK’s forthcoming negotiations to leave the EU and discussions around the future relationship between the UK and the EU, this briefing should not be interpreted as a comprehensive survey, but rather a starting point which identifies pertinent issues relevant to the subject.

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Lords Library notes

House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.