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 Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion 12:39 pm, 12th March 2019

May I press the Attorney General on the status of the joint instrument? Last night, the Minister for the Cabinet Office claimed that

“the joint instrument has equal status in law to the withdrawal agreement itself”—[Official Report, 11 March 2019;
Vol. 656, c. 132.]

and that they both have

“the status of treaties under international law”.—[Official Report, 11 March 2019;
Vol. 656, c. 135.]

However, legal advice that I have seen says:

“The Joint Instrument is not incorporated into the Withdrawal Agreement, it is not a Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement and it is not a treaty in its own right.”

Will the Attorney General clarify whether the Minister for the Cabinet Office inadvertently misled the House last night?