Dominic Raab left red-faced after misspelling European Union in key Brexit paper

Posted On: 
24th July 2018

Dominic Raab has been mocked today after misspelling European Union in a crucial Brexit document.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab gave a statement in the Commons today
Credit: 
BBC

The Brexit Secretary announced the publication of a White Paper setting out the details of the Government’s landmark EU Withdrawal Bill in the Commons this afternoon.

But he sparked ridicule when he revealed "some parts" of the European Communities Act will continue to apply in Britain until the end of the Brexit transition period in 2021. 

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Mr Raab told MPs: “We are publishing a White Paper setting out our proposals for this important legislation, which will be introduced once the negotiations have concluded and once Parliament has approved the final deal…

“In setting out our proposals today we are giving Parliament the opportunity to scrutinise the plans well ahead of the bill’s introduction, given the need to enact the legislation in the time available, mindful of the importance of maximum scrutiny in this House.”   

However, closer inspection of the document revealed that the foreword – written by Mr Raab – contained an embarrassing spelling mistake.

He wrote: “The content of the Europen Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will ultimately depend on the final terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Seizing on the error, a spokesman for the pro-EU People's Vote campaign group said: “We know Raab doesn’t have a laser-like focus on the details, but this is what happens when he tries to spell out his vision for the future.”

In his statement to MPs, the Brexit Secretary added that the White Paper would provide “certainty” for citizens and businesses in the UK and in the EU.   

“It also send a clear signal to the European Union that the United Kingdom is a reliable, dependable negotiating partner, delivering on the commitments it has made across the negotiating table,” he said.

The White Paper will keep the UK under parts of the 1972 European Communities Act - which will be replaced by the EU Withdrawal Act - until December 2020, Mr Raab said.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer branded the EU Withdrawal Act a "gimmick" as he argued "large parts" of the old legislation, including the juristiction of the European Court of Justice, would be retained. 

And he said: "I can't remember legislation which has needed such great revision and amendment before the relevant parts have even come into force."

Asked whether EU nationals living in the UK would still be granted 'settled status' if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal, Mr Raab said they would not lose their rights "wholesale".

He added that the Government would "move quickly" to protect rights if a no-deal scenario plunged the country into legal chaos.