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 Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Labour/Co-operative, Feltham and Heston 12:39 pm, 12th March 2019

The Attorney General says that the joint instrument and the content of the unilateral declaration relating to the withdrawal agreement

“reduce the risk that the United Kingdom could be indefinitely and involuntarily” held in the backstop in the event of bad faith, but surely that was only ever a very limited risk. Is it not true that the far greater risk of being held in the backstop indefinitely is not as a result of the failure of either party to act in good faith, but because of intractable differences? In such circumstances, is it not right that the people of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should have the confidence that measures that they can trust will be in place to prevent a hard border, and that the backstop would be exited upon a new agreement being reached? Does not that make perfect sense?