Exiting the European Union

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union 10:00 pm, 11th March 2019

The Minister referred in his statement to the possible suspension of our obligations in respect of the backstop. As he will know, however, under article 178 of the withdrawal agreement that can happen only after the arbitration panel has ruled on the question referred to it, and after a whole process has been followed if one party has failed to comply with the ruling of the arbitration panel.

If consideration of the issues raised by the arbitration panel in relation to the backstop involves questions about the interpretation or application of EU law, can the Minister confirm for the House that any such questions would have to be referred by the arbitration panel to the Court of Justice of the European Union, and that any ruling of the Court—despite what he has said tonight—would be binding on the arbitration panel, on the European Union and, crucially, on the United Kingdom?