Northern Ireland Protocol: First Treasury Counsel

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:32 am on 9th June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Justice Committee 10:32 am, 9th June 2022

I apologise for being a little late at the beginning of the statement, Mr Speaker.

Does my right hon. Friend accept that it is by no means unknown for independent advice to be taken from a range of senior counsel, particularly where novel or highly specialised areas of law are concerned, and that that is done without any prejudice to the position or independence of the senior Treasury counsel and does not of itself constrain them? Does he also accept that it is important to remember that partial leaks of illegal advice are all the more unhelpful in circumstances such as this, not only because of the breach of the convention, but because an assessment on the necessity test, which may be relevant in international law, can be made only on the totality of the legal advice and the totality of the evidence, which must be then weighed against that advice, and we are not in a position yet to do that?