Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 12:39 pm, 12th March 2019

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for his opinion, which is not only for the Government, I would stress, but for Parliament and for the voters. The substance of the backstop issue to which he has just referred is the legal, constitutional and, therefore, political status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, which cannot be put at risk.

My right hon. and learned Friend refers to a reduced risk of the UK being “indefinitely” detained in the protocol, but he adds that, ultimately, there is

“no internationally lawful means of exiting” unless both the EU and the UK agree. Does he therefore appreciate, on his own terms, that this fundamental legal impediment trumps political considerations and that, therefore, there would be insufficient protection for Northern Ireland to continue as part of the United Kingdom?