David Davis: Theresa May’s deal will deliver Brexit if it has legal force

David Davis: Theresa May’s deal will ‘deliver Brexit’ if it has ‘legal force’

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The former Brexit secretary has said that Theresa May’s Brexit deal will deliver Brexit after she insisted that she has secured legally binding changes to her withdrawal agreement.

The prime minister said that she has ensured that the Irish backstop will not be permanent, after MPs had voted for the backstop to be replaced with “alternative arrangements” in January. 

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is set to give his verdict on these changes later today, informing MPs whether they do have “legal force” or not.



David Davis told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “It all hinges on what Geoffrey Cox says in his legal advice. It was fundamental before that he said we could be trapped in a ‘Hotel California’ and can’t get out of the arrangement with the European Union.”

He added: “This is by no means what I would have liked but it will deliver Brexit, which was being put at risk by die-hard Remainers desperate to have the vote again - probably led from the back by Tony Blair – and this sees that off and it gets us to the next step of leaving the European Union. That is what people voted for.”


'Just about acceptable to me' 

The Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden said that Mrs May’s deal will be defeated in the House of Commons this evening if Mr Cox does not ensure the changes have legal standing.

“If all these changes happen then it is just about acceptable to me,” he said.

“It depends very heavily on a robust and clear response from Mr Cox. If Mr Cox is at all equivocal about it then it is set to fall again.”



He also admitted that he had not expected the prime minister to come back with any changes to the deal.

Mr Davis added: “I think the EU will now come back to the table and try to find a solution to Northern Ireland.

“We know there is a solution to Northern Ireland in terms of technical and administrative measures.”

He said: “If they had come back with nothing, then I was going to call for no-deal. I was going to point out that the law is written in such a way that we have to leave.”


'The House has a clear choice' 

Iain Duncan Smith has said that he is being “non-committal because he is trying to get his head around” these new changes.

He told Julia: “I have not made my mind up because I want to give the government fair wind.

“We are being a bit rushed here. We got this late last night and did not start reading the document until after midnight.

“We are being expected to make a judgement on this in 12 hours. I have asked for this to be delayed so that we can have a proper serious investigation.”



Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he hopes the Attorney General backs Mrs May’s changes.

He added: “I hope he backs the significant movement we have had last night. I hope enough MPs can back the deal.

“The House has a very clear choice; it can either back the deal or we can just continue this endless debate and put uncertainty back on the table.

“We won’t have any more clarity or any more forward movement.”