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Children's Rights

Volume 630: debated on Thursday 2 November 2017

10. What steps he will take to maintain children's rights contained in the EU charter of fundamental rights in the event that that charter no longer applies in the UK once the UK leaves the EU. (901562)

I apologise for the delay, Mr Speaker; the question numbers have caught me out. With permission, I will answer Questions 10 and 17 together.

Reaching a reciprocal agreement to safeguard the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, is our first priority—

Order. The Minister is in rather a pickle and I am sorry for him—I feel his pain—but there is no grouping of Questions 10 and 17. [Interruption.] As in American football, the hon. Gentleman can have a brief timeout.

Our commitment to children’s rights will remain unwavering after we have left the EU. The charter of fundamental rights did not create any new rights; instead it catalogued rights that already existed in EU law. These rights will be preserved by the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and case law relating to them will be retained in UK law at the point we exit the EU.

It is clear that Ministers take children’s rights after Brexit very seriously.

The Minister will know that EU mechanisms such as Europol and the European arrest warrant have played a significant role in protecting children from serious and complex cross-border crime. In negotiating future arrangements on crime and security, what assurances can he give the House that children’s interests and safeguarding will be paramount?

The hon. Lady makes a good point. I refer her to our future security paper, which makes clear our interest in co-operating on these matters. This House takes children’s rights extremely seriously and we will ensure that we establish the best approach to them in both the negotiations and our own domestic law.