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 David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 10:00 pm, 11th March 2019

First, of course, all parties agree that the backstop, were it ever to be used, is temporary. Indeed, article 50 is not a legal basis for any sort of permanent relationship between the European Union and a third country of any kind. On the specific points that the hon. Gentleman made, the language that I used in the statement reflected the concerns that have been expressed often inside and outside this House that there would be an effort by some countries within the European Union to keep us in the backstop because, such critics argued, they would see economic advantage or leverage in so doing. What the joint instrument makes very clear is that any such action would be a breach of the EU’s formal international legal obligations.