The Government has confirmed that political agreement has been reached on the withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It has laid the following documents before Parliament under Section 13(1)(a) of the EU (Withdrawal Act) 2018:
- 11 March Statement that political agreement has been reached.
- 11 March Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
- 11 March Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.
- 11 March Joint statement supplementing the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the UK.
- Declaration by Her Majesty’s Government concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol.
- 11 March Instrument relating to the agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.
As set out in the Prime Minister’s statement of 26 November 2018, the withdrawal agreement laid before Parliament following political agreement being reached in November 2018 represented
“a version of the text which has been agreed, but has not yet been formally signed. Before this formal signature takes place, the agreement must complete the European Union’s jurist-linguist translation process. During that time, minor technical corrections will be made to the text, though these changes will not affect the substance of the agreement”.
On 12 March, the Attorney wrote to the Prime Minister with his formal legal advice on the backstop. He concludes:
“the legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement.”
The Government lost the motion to approve the withdrawal deal by 391 to 242.
May one ask if a political agreement is Law or Religion?
How we leave (or don’t leave) the EU has all sorts of consequences for law (eg employment law, VAT law and data protection) and I suspect – rightly or wrongly – that it will have implications for religion as well: see, for example, the recent CJEU judgments in Achbita, Bougnaoui, Egenberger and Cresco (and possibly Oeuvre d’Assistance aux Bêtes d’Abattoirs as well – though maybe that one’s slightly niche).