Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Position

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:49 pm on 3rd December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox The Attorney-General 4:49 pm, 3rd December 2018

What I do say is that the customs arrangement under the backstop produces the following advantages. We pay not a penny and our goods have free access, in fiscal and tariff terms, to the European Union, yet the regulatory framework that we have to observe is dealt with by way of non-regression clauses that are not enforceable either by the EU institutions or by the arbitration arrangements under the withdrawal agreement. They are policed solely by British courts and British authorities.

In those circumstances, what does it mean? It means that they have split the four freedoms. They have created a situation where we can have the regulatory flexibility that they cannot. They have granted access to the single market for no contribution, without free movement, without signing up to the common fisheries policy and without signing up to the common agricultural policy. For all those reasons, what I say to the right hon. Lady is that if it is painful to us, it will be as painful to them. Where we want to end up is an arrangement that suits us both. This suits neither.