Stephen Doughty 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 (106 words)

Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Opinion

(1st reading: House of Commons)
Stephen Doughty 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

As my right hon. Friend knows, if the parties, using best endeavours, in complete sincerity with co-operation and good faith, are simply unable to agree anything, not even a few alternative arrangements or a partial agreement—the subsequent agreement referred to in the protocol can of course be a stand-alone agreement—the UK has no unilateral exit right to leave, unless there were a fundamental change of circumstance under article 62 of the Vienna convention on the law of treaties. My right hon Friend knows that, but the question is: is it likely? What this deal has now done is place the burden on the EU to negotiate those alternative arrangements, as a result of his work, in part. I say to him that he should trust in himself, trust in the British people and trust in our ability to deliver a good deal. We can use the new contexts in this agreement, and I believe we will secure a good deal for the Northern Irish border.

Stephen Doughty Portrait Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op) - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 1:19 p.m.

I thank the Attorney General for his candour and for sticking to his integrity in the advice he has provided, which very much lines up with Lord Anderson’s advice that the backstop may accordingly “endure indefinitely”. Lord Anderson also says that the interpretive declaration is not a

“clearly worded, legally binding, ‘treaty-level’ clause which unambiguously”

overrides the text. The Attorney General has said repeatedly throughout this process that this is about politics, not law, so will he tell us whether at any point over the weekend he offered the Prime Minister preliminary advice that she would not be getting the advice she wanted for the politics of today?

Mr Geoffrey Cox Portrait The Attorney General - Parliament Live - Hansard
12 Mar 2019, 1:20 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman will forgive me for saying that I am afraid I am not permitted by the Law Officers’ convention to say whether I gave advice or what advice that would be.