Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Sir Edward LeighMain Page: Sir Edward Leigh (Conservative) - Gainsborough)
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No, no, no. We have not been attempting to secure alternative arrangements now. We have been putting forward the fact that, in the future, all those alternative arrangements are likely to exist, so the European Union has responded by saying, “We will set up a new, special negotiating track, we will negotiate with an increased urgency and to a new timetable and we will implement these”—they have defined them—“customs procedures and technologies and so on.” So it is not right to say that the same situation arises now. These systems will be developed over time and that is the purpose of the working group that the Union has agreed to set up with this country.
First, may I say to my right hon. Friend that I am extremely grateful for the dialogue that we have had and he was, in no small part, the author of the seeds of this idea. Much of the material that he and other distinguished lawyers have been able to contribute has led to the proposal that we have now adopted. But I say to him that the unilateral declaration in this case does not need to say “conditional” because it is not objected to by the Union and, if it is not objected to, and the withdrawal agreement is ratified by the Union, it becomes binding.