Following the Prime Minister's statement on Brexit, Iain Duncan Smith seeks assurance that the implementation period will be for implementing the Brexit agreement and not just to carry on with no change at all.
I join my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) in congratulating my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on driving through an improved agreement on Friday, which many thought would not be feasible. She has been incredibly clear in the past about the fact that the two-year period that follows our departure will be an implementation period. Is it still the Government’s position that that implementation phase will be used to implement all that has been agreed, and not, as some say, just to carry on with no change at all?
The point of the implementation period is exactly as my right hon. Friend says—namely, to ensure that the changes necessary for the new relationship to work can be put in place. Examples include the registration of EU citizens here in the UK, which the Home Office will be running during that period. It is also about ensuring that businesses and citizens have the confidence and reassurance of knowing how they will be operating during that period, that there is no double cliff edge for businesses and that they have a smooth process of change. That is the point of the implementation period. Further details of it will be negotiated in the next phase, and I am pleased that the European Commission and the President of the EU Council are clear that that should start immediately.