Brexit department to be 'wound up' after UK leaves EU on Jan 31, government confirms

Posted On: 
19th December 2019

The Brexit department is to be “wound up” after the UK leaves the EU on January 31, the Government has confirmed.

Steve Barclay's Brexit department will be closed after the UK leaves the EU in January
Credit: 
PA Images

The long-rumoured move comes after reports Boris Johnson will axe a host of Cabinet roles in a major reshuffle in the new year.

A spokesperson said they would “help everyone to find new roles” who worked there, but it is unlikely that will include the Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.

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The Sunday Times reported Boris Johnson has drawn up plans to run a “revolutionary” government with up to a third of the Cabinet facing the sack.

Plans would see a new department for borders and immigration separate from the Home Office and merging the Department for International Trade with the business department.

Thought to be the brainchild of the Prime Minister’s senior aide Dominic Cummings, it would also see the merging of the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development, and splitting energy and climate change from the business department into its own entity again.

As for the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), its best staff are set to join the UK’s chief negotiator with the EU, David Frost, and his team in the Cabinet Office.

A Government spokesperson confirmed its planned closure, saying: “The Department for Exiting the European Union will be wound up once the UK leaves the EU on 31 January.

“DExEU staff have been spoken to today. We are very grateful for all their work and we will help everyone to find new roles.”

The move was welcomed by Raoul Ruparel, a former special advisor at DExEU and aide to the PM on Europe.

He tweeted: “Right decision by the Government. Most sensible way to proceed.

“But the expertise and skills built up in DExEU over past three years is still very necessary.

“I hope this will be maintained and those civil servants who want to go off to work on other issues will be supported.”

It comes after Mr Johnson ordered officials to drop the term “Brexit” after Britain leaves the EU at the end of next month, according to HuffPost.

They quote a government source saying: “Once we’re out on January 31 that’s it.

“The deal is done and after that it’s all about the future relationship.”

And last week the PM vowed to deliver “closure” on Brexit so the UK can “let the healing begin” after sweeping to victory in the general election.