Brexit: What do the Government’s legal position papers say?
The Government has published its Legal Position On The Withdrawal Agreement.
The Government has published its Legal Position On The Withdrawal Agreement after it lost a Parliamentary vote calling for the full legal advice to be released.
– What does it say?
The 43-page document says that an Irish border backstop in the event of a no-deal Brexit would remain until a new agreement is made.
The paper also notes that Britain faces paying extra money to the European Union if the implementation period after the UK leaves in March has to be extended.
And it says that the EU and UK must act in “good faith” to negotiate the agreements governing the future relationship “expeditiously” with a view to “ensuring that they apply from the end of the implementation period”.
– What doesn’t it say?
The document does not contain the full legal advice given to ministers by the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, and is instead a position statement.
– Will this satisfy MPs?
It is unlikely to satisfy MPs who are demanding the full legal advice. Labour’s Chris Bryant, a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum, said the Government’s “refusal” to comply sends a message that the deal is “bad for Britain”.
– Why has the Government not just published the full advice?
Ministers have been accused of ignoring the will of the House by only publishing a “full reasoned political statement” on the legal position concerning the Withdrawal Agreement. However, it is a longstanding convention that the advice given by law officers is not disclosed publicly.