Britain could be trapped in endless negotiations with the European Union by Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the British government’s top legal adviser has warned.
In the full written advice by the attorney general, which the government was forced to publish after lawmakers found it in contempt of parliament, ministers are warned that the “backstop” insurance policy relating to Northern Ireland could last “indefinitely” if relations with the EU break down.
The six-page document, dated November 13, was described as “devastating” by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the small Northern Ireland party that has been propping up the UK Prime Minister in parliament.
In the advice, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox warns that the Northern Ireland “backstop” could last “indefinitely until a superseding agreement took its place.” The UK could become involved in “protracted and repeating rounds of negotiations,” he warns.
He advises that the so-called backstop would “endure even when negotiations have clearly broken down.”
The backstop is an arrangement designed to ensure there is no return to a “hard border” between Ireland, which will remain part of the European Union after Brexit, and Northern Ireland when the United Kingdom leaves the bloc next March.
Lawmakers are debating the government’s Brexit plan for a second day Wednesday, ahead of a vote on the deal next week. [Continue reading…]