Government warned of Brexit’s 'serious detrimental effect' on other policy areas

Planning for EU exit means a host of policy areas are being ignored, according to MPs

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By Nicholas Mairs

17 Dec 2018

Dragging out the Brexit process is having a “detrimental effect” on wider domestic policy, a cross-party group of senior MPs has warned Theresa May.

Six powerful committee chairs told the prime minister that the chaos in parliament over her Brexit deal risked causing “serious damage” to the country and was “sucking the life” out of the government.

The warning came in a letter signed by three Conservative select committee chairs: the Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon, the Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan and the Culture Select Committee chair Damian Collins. The other signatories were Labour Work and Pensions Select Committee chair Frank Field, Labour Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh, and Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem boss of the Science and Technology Select Committee.


“Long-drawn-out arguments over Brexit and delays in reaching an agreement on our future relationship with the EU are having a serious detrimental effect on the conduct of wider domestic policy,” they said in the letter seen by The Observer.

“MPs of all parties and ministers should be addressing the most urgent challenges facing our country: safeguarding our NHS, improving social care for the elderly; stepping up the fight against crime and knife crime; sorting out our benefits system; improving our public transport and safeguarding the environment for future generations."

They added that Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union had prevented Mrs May from tackling the “burning injustices” in society, as she promised to do as she entered Downing Street in 2016.

“Instead, Brexit is sucking the life out of government at a time when our towns, cities and citizens face serious spending restraints," they fumed.

“Rather than continuing to drag out the Brexit process for months more, we must bring it to a close if we are to prevent serious damage to our country.”

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