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Leaving the EU: Preparations

Volume 636: debated on Monday 26 February 2018

14. What steps her Department has taken to prepare for the UK leaving the EU; and if she will make a statement. (904006)

The Department continues to make preparations for a range of possible outcomes from the UK’s negotiations with the European Union, working in close co-ordination with the Department for Exiting the European Union and others. We are already recruiting additional staff in Border Force and across the wider UK Visas and Immigration department to ensure that the correct preparations for leaving the European Union are well under way.

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House how much has been invested in our borders since the referendum and how much is planned between now and Brexit day in March 2019? Will the Home Office be ready on day one, prepared for every single eventuality?

As I reassured my hon. Friend, we are making preparations for every eventuality. The Home Office has already invested £60 million in 2017-18. We will continue to review the funding position as negotiations continue and details of the final agreement become clearer. As he might expect, we are in continuing discussions with Her Majesty’s Treasury.

The phase 1 agreement before Christmas rightly confirmed the Government’s commitment to the avoidance of a hard border in Northern Ireland, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls. The Minister will know the concerns of the Police Service of Northern Ireland that any infrastructure at all could pose a security threat. So far, the Government have not set out any way in which to operate border and customs checks—if the UK is outside a customs union—without some kind of physical infrastructure such as, for example, cameras at or near the border. Will the Minister confirm that the Government’s commitment to no physical infrastructure also means a commitment to no cameras at or near the border, which would also pose a security threat?

The right hon. Lady will be aware that we have made a very firm commitment to no hard border, and that we will continue to update the House as negotiations progress.