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

My hon. Friend must understand that we cannot look at this simply as a question of the traffic of goods between the Republic and Northern Ireland. The stated objectives are to protect in all its dimensions the integration that has taken place between Northern Ireland and the Republic—in health treatment, in education, in cultural activities—and all of these activities are to be protected. The Government of the United Kingdom have made a solemn and good faith pledge to the Republic of Ireland and to the European Union that they will preserve that integration in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland. What we have to do is find a way of doing so that is consistent with the interests of the Union and of the United Kingdom. The backstop is a temporary solution. We will find another, and it will not, except by the consent of the Stormont institutions, have the same problems that the backstop has.