Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Position

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

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

There is nothing to prevent a case from being brought to the Court of Justice of the European Union on whether any agreement that is signed by the European Union is compatible with the treaties. But I would point out that, as I said earlier, the time at which the backstop becomes legally vulnerable, or most legally vulnerable, is the time at which it becomes, de facto, not simply temporary but permanent. It is at that point that the problem may crystallise in connection with the use of article 50 to conclude this agreement. The legal uncertainty about knowing whether the backstop would survive such a challenge is one of the factors, I believe, that will impel the European Union to conclude an arrangement with us in expeditious time.