Brexit department to close if Brexit happens next month

PUBLISHED: 16:15 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 19 December 2019

Brexit secretaries past and present: David Davis, Dominic Raab and Steve Barclay. Photograph: PA.

Brexit secretaries past and present: David Davis, Dominic Raab and Steve Barclay. Photograph: PA.

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The Department for Exiting the European Union will be wound up if the UK leaves the EU on January 31, the government has announced.

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Established in 2016 following the Brexit referendum, the department is responsible for overseeing negotiations to leave the EU and establish the future relationship between the bloc and Britain.

Boris Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the bloc at the end of next month, and will begin driving the necessary legislation through parliament from Friday.

The UK will then enter a transition period which the government has insisted will come to an end in December 2020.

A government spokesman said: "The Department for Exiting the European Union will be wound up once the UK leaves the EU on January 31. DExEU staff have been spoken to today.

"We are very grateful for all their work and we will help everyone to find new roles."

It follows reports that the prime minister is planning a major shake-up of Whitehall - with suggestions that the best DExEU staff may join the Cabinet Office to boost numbers in Britain's EU negotiating team.

Other ideas floated include splitting energy and climate change from the business department again and merging the Department for International Trade with the business department.

The Foreign Office and the Department for International Development could also be aligned to shift the aid budget's focus and ensure it aligns with foreign policy goals.

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