Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Brexit backstop legal risk unchanged, says UK AG

Brexit backstop legal risk unchanged, says UK AG

Theresa May has secured "legally binding" changes to her Brexit deal - just hours before MPs will vote to approve the agreement in the Commons.

The legal arguments around the new changes will be the focal point ahead of the vote scheduled for around 1900 GMT, with UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox set to update his advice on the deal and whether it will stand up to legal scrutiny and be enough to convince sceptical MPs to vote in favour of May's deal.

Many Brexiteers anxious that the backstop, aimed at avoiding controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, could trap the United Kingdom in the EU's orbit indefinitely.

Theresa May's Brexit deal will be rejected by 363 MPs today, according to spread betting firm Sporting Index.

At its heart lies three new documents meant to provide additional legal guarantees that the United Kingdom can't be trapped indefinitely inside the backstop arrangement.

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On Wednesday, lawmakers are expected to reject a no-deal Brexit in a vote and on Thursday are then due to vote on whether to ask the European Union for a delay to Brexit, something to which all the bloc's other 27 members must agree.

But to secure backing for her deal, May will need to win over dozens of hardline Eurosceptics in the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist party, whose refusal to back the original agreement led to a record Commons defeat by more than 230 votes in January.

In essence, the assurances give the United Kingdom a possible path out of the backstop through arbitration and underscore the EU's repeated pledges that it does not want to trap the United Kingdom in the backstop.

European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted: "Brexit was about taking back control". However, the text of the 585-page withdrawal agreement remained unchanged.

"Now is the time to come together, to back this improved Brexit deal, and to deliver on the instruction of the British people", May said.

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Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, is expected to change...

Currency expert Stafford-Taylor added: "However, if parliament vote against May's deal there will be a fresh vote to consider tomorrow which could further influence to the pound's movement".

The vote will take place on 13 March.

To guide the Eurosceptics, the deal was due to be examined by a committee of eight lawyers in the ERG, including Sir Bill Cash and the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab. However, even if the Article 50 - the notification that Britain will leave the European Union - extension is granted, Juncker said last night that "it's this deal or Brexit might not happen at all".

An opposition Labour Party spokesman said this meant she had "given up any pretence of leading the country".

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If EU leaders say no to a short extension but yes to a longer extension MPs will then have to vote on the offer of a longer extension.

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