Mr John Baron contributions to the Immigration (Armed Forces) Bill 2017-19

Tue 12th March 2019 Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion (Commons Chamber)
1st reading: House of Commons
3 interactions (114 words)

Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion

(1st reading: House of Commons)
Mr John Baron Excerpts
Tuesday 12th March 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Attorney General
Mr Geoffrey Cox Portrait The Attorney General - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 1:37 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman is not right about that. Under article 184 of the withdrawal agreement, there is a legal duty on the Union and the UK to negotiate a deal that is in line, and according to, the political declaration. He asks, is there any unconditional right to withdraw? With respect, I have answered that question. The only circumstance in which there would be an unconditional right to withdraw is if there were a fundamental change of circumstances pursuant to customary international law.

Mr John Baron Portrait Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 1:38 p.m.

I commend my right hon. and learned Friend for the way he is pursuing the remit of his office. He is, of course, right that there is a political dimension to the decision that we will all have to make this evening, but may I ask him this question? He has confirmed today that, if there were a fundamental change of circumstances, this country would have the right to walk away from the agreement, but can he also confirm that, if that were to happen and we did walk away, we could take Northern Ireland with us as a member of the United Kingdom, thereby extracting it from the customs union within the EU?

Mr Geoffrey Cox Portrait The Attorney General - Parliament Live - Hansard

Let me make it clear: the United Kingdom is the United Kingdom, it includes Northern Ireland and there is no circumstance in which the Government of this country, and certainly not a Conservative Government, will ever leave Northern Ireland behind, subject to the obligations under the Belfast agreement. That has been proposed, as my hon. Friend knows. It has been proposed that we should have a termination right for GB only and the Prime Minister explained why that was unacceptable.