Withdrawal Agreement: Attorney General’s legal opinion on the Joint Instrument and Unilateral Declaration - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 12th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 6:30 pm, 12th March 2019

I am obliged to the noble Lord for his address on “egregious”, and I do not disagree with the derivation of the term. It would be an abnormal situation to find ourselves in, and that is why I reiterate that it would be exceptional, unusual and unfortunate for us to proceed to make a political decision based on such an abnormality. The point I sought to make on the customs union is that in so far as we remain within it as a consequence of the backstop, if we ever did, it has clear deleterious impacts upon the European Union. We would, in a sense, be getting a free ride on the customs union so far as Great Britain is concerned, but not so far as Northern Ireland is concerned. But I do not anticipate that we are ever going to find ourselves within that backstop and, therefore, within that customs union.