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

I hope the House will reconsider the position. I hope that it will understand that no Attorney General and no Government would wish to place themselves—and certainly not I as Attorney General—in contempt of the House. There is simply nothing of that in my desire or wish, and I would not take this position if I did not feel that that was contrary to all of our interests. I stand before the House fully understanding the nature of its concern, not to say indignation; I accept that. It is a deeply unsatisfactory position for any Attorney General or Government to be in.

I am truly sorry that I am not in a position to disclose either the fact or the content of my advice. However, I am doing so not to frustrate the legitimate interests of the Members opposite or Members behind me, but rather and only because I do believe it is against the public interest at a time when we are negotiating and at a time when this involves advice to a Cabinet or might well involve advice to a Cabinet that must, for reasons of fundamental principle, be kept confidential.