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Politics update: May under pressure to publish legal advice on Brexit backstop, Starmer says May ‘bluffing’ on no-deal

Politics update: May under pressure to publish legal advice on Brexit backstop, Starmer says May ‘bluffing’ on no-deal

Politics Update 08.11.0218 Theresa May Legal Advice Brexit

Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update:

May faces pressure to reveal legal advice on Irish border issue


Theresa May is being urged to reveal the legal advice she has received over plans to solve the Irish border issue, currently the biggest issue standing in the way of Brexit negotiations with the EU proceeding any further.

Senior Conservative, DUP and Labour MPs called on the prime minister to publish the advice she has been given on the issue from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, sharing it with the cabinet or making it available to the public.

The advice May has received is likely to draw up all the legal implications of a backstop arrangement, including how it relates to future trade between the UK and Northern Ireland, and the risk of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Theresa May has proposed that the UK remain in alignment with the EU customs union in a time-limited backstop for the whole of the UK. However, the EU has thus far opposed the idea of setting a time limit on any agreed backstop.

Late on Wednesday morning, cabinet ministers were invited to read a ‘near finished’ text of the EU withdrawal agreement. However, this did not include details on the backstop proposals.

Keir Starmer: May is ‘bluffing’ about no-deal Brexit

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, told reporters on Wednesday that Theresa May was “bluffing” about a no-deal Brexit, and would not crash the UK out of the EU if her deal agreed with the bloc was rejected by MPs in parliament, the Independent reports.

Whilst visiting Brussels, on a trip to meet EU officials. Starmer told reporters: “I have never accepted that no deal is a viable option. The consequences of no deal would be catastrophic for jobs, the economy and for the border in Northern Ireland,”

He added: “I honestly don’t believe any prime minister would seriously consider taking the decision to crash the UK out of the EU without an agreement. The no-deal rhetoric from the government is a bluff and we shouldn’t fall for it.”

Starmer also issued a statement demanding May publishes her legal advice on the Irish border issue, laying out Labour’s stance on Theresa May publishing the advice.

Starmer’s statement reads:

“Any agreement on the backstop can’t simply be a fudge that’s cobbled together to satisfy Theresa May’s cabinet.

It must be a robust and credible proposal that guarantees there will be no return to a hard border in Northern Ireland after Brexit.

That’s why it’s essential MPs are given the opportunity to scrutinise the attorney general’s legal advice before voting on the final deal. The public have the right to know precisely what the cabinet has signed up to and what the implications are for the future.

At this crucial stage, parliament should not be kept in the dark nor should the government try to bounce MPs into an agreement without all the facts.”

Blair on Brexit: ‘I am going to do everything I can to stop it’

Tony Blair Web Summit

Former prime minister Tony Blair has told the Web Summit conference in Lisbon that Brexit can still be stopped, adding that “up to the very end I am going to do everything I can to stop it”.

Speaking at the conference on Wednesday, Blair said: “I think it is possible to stop it. It’s not in our political interest, it’s not in our economic interest, I think it weakens Britain and it weakens Europe.

In my view a general election is highly unlikely because of the state of the Conservative party, unless they are suicidal – which in politics today you can’t discount. Let’s assume they are not, they won’t want an election. No deal is obviously absurd, I think at least we should have the chance to go back to the people.”

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