Prime Minister May negotiated new ‘legally binding changes’ in Strasbourg last night specifically, reducing concerns that the UK would be unable to unilaterally extract itself from the Irish backstop, which is there to maintain the commitment to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
There are three parts to the reassurance package, which would sit alongside the Withdrawal Agreement including;
- A joint legally-binding instrument relating to the Withdrawal Agreement – either side can leave the backstop if the other side is acting in bad faith, via independent arbitration.
- A joint statement on the Political Declaration around the future UK-EU relationship – a legal commitment on replacing the backstop with alternative arrangements by 2020.
- The UK will table a unilateral declaration that if the backstop does come into force and discussions on a future relationship break down, the UK can take measures to “disapply” the backstop.
MP’s will vote today on these latest negotiations and if this new deal is then rejected, MPs will vote on a no-deal Brexit and on extending Article 50.
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