I am going to make some progress, if I may.
Yet in her statement last night, the Prime Minister said that the joint instrument guaranteed that the EU could not act with the intent of applying the backstop indefinitely. The EU has never expressed that intent, and the Prime Minister has never accused them of having it. The Prime Minister has constructed one enormous great big gigantic attractive paper tiger, and then slain it. However, the substance already existed through article 178(5) of the withdrawal agreement, agreed in November. Truly, nothing has changed.
The Prime Minister also claims that the joint instrument entrenches the January exchange of letters in legally binding form. On
“legal force in international law".—[Official Report,
Vol. 652, c. 833.]
We are back with smoke and mirrors—the illusion of change, when the reality is that nothing has changed. It is all is spin and no substance from the Prime Minister.