Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Richard DraxMain Page: Richard Drax (Conservative) - South Dorset)
Department Debates - View all Richard Drax's debates with the Attorney General
Legislation Debates - View all Richard Drax's contributions to the Immigration (Armed Forces) Bill 2017-19
It does make perfect sense. I have to say that I would have preferred to have seen a right of termination, mitigated and graduated, fairly balancing and apportioning risk, and only useable in a last resort, but the Union was not willing to agree to such a reasonable—and what I considered to be moderate—proposal. I agree with the hon. Lady, which is why I voted for the deal. It is sensible that that assurance can be given, and that is why the British Government have given it. I would say, though, that best endeavours is not—particularly now, with the context heightened and the benchmarks tightened—a meaningless duty, because best endeavours requires that a party should consider proposals that are contrary to its interests, and it may have to accept them. A party cannot go on refusing something that requires a reasonable adjustment in its position.
I understand my hon. Friend’s frustrations, but I do not agree with his language. I have found those with whom we are doing business in the European Union to be perfectly reasonable and rational people, and I have no complaint about the manner in which negotiations have been conducted—they have always been conducted with cordiality and civility on both sides—so I do not believe that we cannot trust them to reach a deal, because it is in the interests of the Union itself.