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Brexit Secretary responds to Children’s Commissioners’ ‘No Deal’ concerns

‘Arrangements are in place to ensure protection of children when UK leaves the EU’

Steve Baker, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, has responded to the letter written by the UK Children's Commissioners, on the consequences for children's safety of a No Deal Brexit. The Children's Commissioners' letter highlighted how a 'no deal' scenario might disrupt some of the mechanisms in place to protect children.

In his reply, the Secretary of State seeks to reassure the Children's Commissioners that arrangements are in place to ensure the protection of children as the UK leaves the EU.

In respect of co-operation on child protection and law enforcement, the Secretary of State writes:

"In the event that we leave the EU without a deal, the mechanisms that we currently use to cooperate with EU Member States on law enforcement and criminal justice matters will cease to be available to us. Broadly speaking, this would mean making more use of alternative channels, including Interpol, Council of Europe Conventions and other forms of cooperation such as bilateral channels. Our contingency plans are largely tried and tested mechanisms, which we already use for cooperating with many non-EU countries, but they are not like-for-like replacements. We are therefore working closely with our operational partners, including the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) to prepare to operate through these alternatives channels thus ensuring we can continue to work together to protect children in the UK and the EU."

In respect of co-operation on family law matters generally, the Secretary of State says that in the event of 'no deal', Parliament would repeal relevant EU rules (such as Brussels IIa) and, when dealing with cases connected to EU Member States, switch to corresponding Hague Conventions, such as the 1980 Hague Abduction Convention and 1996 Hague Protection of Children Convention.

He writes that there would be no impact on statutory requirements for pre-appointment checks of criminal records and staff vetting.

For the full text of the Brexit Secretary's letter, click here. For the Children's Commissioners' letter,click here.

21/3/19