Joint Ministerial Committee Communique: October 2016

Note of meeting held in London covering inter-governmental relations, exiting the European Union, economic growth and industrial strategy.

Attendees and apologies

The participants were:

from HM Government the Prime Minister

  • Rt Hon Theresa May, MP
  • the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Rt Hon David Davis MP
  • the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
  • the Secretary of State for Scotland, Rt Hon David Mundell MP
  • the Secretary of State for Wales, Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
  • Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon James Brokenshire
  • the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon David Gauke MP
  • Minister for the Cabinet Office, Rt Hon Ben Gummer MP

From the Scottish Government

  • the First Minister, Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
  • the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, Michael Russell MSP

From the Northern Ireland Executive

  • the First Minister, Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA
  • the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA

From the Welsh Government

  • the First Minister, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM
  • Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford AM

Items and actions

The three principal agenda items at the meeting were the state of relations between the administrations, exiting the European Union and economic growth and industrial strategy.

On the first item, Ministers discussed the principles which should govern relations between the four administrations and noted work in hand on a number of procedural and administrative measures intended to make the JMC a more effective forum for the discussion and management of inter-administration issues. Ministers remitted further work on these issues to the Secretariat.

Ministers noted that no disputes had been raised under the formal dispute resolution process since the last Plenary meeting in December 2014 and agreed that the next report on the key activities of the JMC will be published in Autumn 2017. It was agreed that JMC(P) should meet on a more frequent basis.

The Prime Minister restated the UK Government’s commitment to full engagement committed to engagement with the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Ministers discussed how the constituent parts of the United Kingdom should work together to ensure that the interests of all parts of the United Kingdom are protected and advanced, and to develop a UK approach and objectives for the forthcoming negotiations. They agreed to take forward multilateral engagement through a new Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations to be known as JMC (EN) which would have the following terms of reference:

Working together in EU Negotiations

Through the JMC(EN) the governments will work collaboratively to:

  • discuss each government’s requirements of the future relationship with the EU
  • seek to agree a UK approach to, and objectives for, Article 50 negotiations
  • provide oversight of negotiations with the EU, to ensure, as far as possible, that outcomes agreed by * all four governments are secured from these negotiations
  • discuss issues stemming from the negotiation process which may impact upon or have consequences for the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government or the Northern Ireland Executive

It was agreed that a work programme and meeting schedule for JMC(EN) would be prepared for discussion at its first meeting in November.

Ministers also discussed the key issues of importance to them in promoting economic growth, including approaches to industrial strategy across the UK.

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