Joint Ministerial Committee 24 October 2016: statement
Prime Minister Theresa May chaired her first Joint Ministerial Committee meeting with devolved administration leaders at 10 Downing Street.
A Downing Street spokesperson said:
Prime Minister Theresa May today told the devolved administrations she would strike a bespoke Brexit deal that works for the whole of the UK.
Speaking at the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) for 2 years, the Prime Minister told leaders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that how the UK leaves the EU should not be seen as a series of binary choices.
The Prime Minister also told the devolved administrations that she wanted their input in shaping the negotiations to leave the EU – and that the final agreement will make a success of Brexit for everyone in the Union.
Following a constructive meeting lasting 2 hours, a new cross-nations forum on Brexit talks will be set up, to be chaired by Brexit secretary David Davis.
It was agreed that by the time of its first meeting in November a work programme would be established for this Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations to integrate it with the wider process of exiting the EU.
The Prime Minister also said she wanted the JMC meetings to take place more regularly and would set up another session early next year.
The Prime Minister set out her commitment to the Union at the meeting, and said her vision for working with the devolved governments was for a relationship built on principles of mutual understanding and consensus and co-operation.
Following the meeting, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
"Working together, the nations of the United Kingdom will make a success of leaving the European Union – and we will further strengthen our own unique and enduring union as we do so.
"The great Union between us has been the cornerstone of our prosperity in the past – and it is absolutely vital to our success in the future.
"The country is facing a negotiation of tremendous importance and it is imperative that the devolved administrations play their part in making it work."
The Prime Minister told Nicola Sturgeon, Carwyn Jones, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness that how the UK leaves the EU should not be seen as a series of binary choices and will instead amount to a bespoke agreement for the UK.
"We have important work to do for the UK in terms of negotiating a smooth exit from the EU and getting the best possible deal for the whole of the UK.
"The UK has chosen to leave the EU and we’re going to make a success of it."
The JMC was also attended by David Mundell, James Brokenshire and Alun Cairns – the secretaries of state for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The group held constructive discussions on the possibility of a new memorandum of understanding to put the JMC on a new formal footing, with guaranteed annual meetings.
There was also agreement among the 4 administrations that with the memorandum of understanding having been drafted before the outcome of the referendum was known, it would need further work to make sure it reflected the result.
It also heard from Business Secretary Greg Clark, who outlined the government’s new industrial strategy and called upon the devolved administrations to play a part in helping to shape it.
Read the Joint Ministerial Committee communiqué.
Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP
The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
The Rt Hon David Davis MP
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
The Rt Hon David Mundell MP
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Department for Exiting the European Union
Northern Ireland Office