European Union (Withdrawal) Act

Part of Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 2:03 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 2:03 pm, 12th March 2019

I will make some further progress.

There are considerable improvements on the deal the House considered eight weeks ago. In particular, there were three key issues raised by my hon. Friend Sir Graham Brady. On the question of giving legal status to the assurances on the backstop, the joint instrument is a legally binding text at the same level as the withdrawal agreement, namely a treaty-level instrument. On alternative arrangements, we have an agreement that they will replace the backstop. This commitment is in the legal instrument, not just the political declaration. On the question of an end date, the core concern of colleagues was that we should not be trapped indefinitely in the backstop. The Attorney General has today changed his legal analysis to note that this risk has been reduced and that if the EU were to act in bad faith, short of its best endeavours, the backstop could be suspended or even terminated, and that this is a materially new legal commitment.