Brexit backstop legal risk 'unchanged': United Kingdom attorney general

Cheryl Sanders
March 14, 2019

"That is what Parliament asked us to secure and that is what we have secured". The government's top lawyer, Geoffrey Cox, is due to give his opinion on Tuesday ahead of the evening vote.

Unveiling details of a tariff plan that would last for up to 12 months in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, the government said 87 per cent of total imports to the United Kingdom by value would be eligible for tariff-free access, up from 80 per cent now. "We owe it to history".

If white smoke emanates from Belfast, the next place to look was the eurosceptic wing of her own Conservative Party, where over 100 rebels reside.

May, who said that she "profoundly rejects" the decision taken by the house, added that Tory MPs will be given a free vote on the no-deal motion on Wednesday.

With just 17 days left until the United Kingdom's scheduled departure date, talks have been stuck on the same issue that has blocked progress for the past year: the backup plan meant to ensure there's never any need for customs checks at the land border between Ireland and the United Kingdom.


Delaying Brexit, the path Britain looks set to take, would need the approval from all 27 remaining European Union countries.

His comments make it more likely that Conservative lawmakers will again vote against the deal today, making it impossible for the government to overturn the 230-vote defeat it suffered the first time it held a "meaningful vote" on it.

Talks have been ill-tempered and optimism faded over the weekend. But at 5.15 p.m.

During the joint conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, May clearly stated that "MPs were clear that legal changes were needed to the backstop".

It's understood the DUP is to meet after the Attorney General finishes addressing the Commons and will then set out their position.


"When the deal was originally defeated in January, sterling traded down at $1.26. We won't know what conditions will be attached", Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told BBC radio.

Experts believe the last-minute agreement will have a significant impact on upcoming parliamentary votes. A panel of euro-skeptic politicians will examine May's latest blueprint in detail, he said.

It means the world's fifth largest economy could leave the European Union without a deal; there could be an extension to the March 29 divorce date which is enshrined in law; May could hold a snap election or try a third time to get her deal passed; or a another referendum on the issue is also possible.

A leading cabinet source said there was increasing concern about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit by accident - on 29 March or at the end of an extension period - if there was no parliamentary majority for May's agreement because time was running out to pass legislation necessary to block one.

-With assistance from Dara Doyle, Nikos Chrysoloras, Kitty Donaldson, Jonathan Stearns and Alan Crawford.


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