Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Robert CourtsMain Page: Robert Courts (Conservative) - Witney)
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I am not convinced that I fully understood the question, perhaps because I did it too much justice and thought it might be a sensible one. The truth is that I doubt I agree with it.
No, I do not agree. The position is more nuanced than that. The pattern of refusing to accept reasonable proposals such as alternative arrangements that could not be said to compromise fundamental interests at the border would be raised immediately—a prima facie question. A pattern of consistent refusal would raise a prima facie question over the best endeavours and good faith clause. As my hon. Friend will have seen, some of these provisions are already in the joint instrument, including systematic conduct, declining to consider, declining to be flexible and declining to consider adverse interests. These best endeavours duties are real duties that are contained in commercial contracts all the time. They are litigated and brought to court, as he will know. We must not allow our fears to run away with us. We need to trust ourselves. We can make the leverage of the backstop as powerful an argument for them not to remain in it as it is for us.