writes “The Withdrawal Agreement is unchanged, so I have no need to update my comments on it which set out the problems with it, especially concerning the powers of the ECJ and the money.
“The Political Declaration is improved. It now makes it clearer that any joint military actions requires the consent of the UK government. More emphasis is given to basing a future trade relationship around a Free Trade Agreement.
“The Declaration whilst confirming we become an independent coastal state for fishing purposes puts our fish back into play with the prospect of a new fishing quota and access based agreement with the EU.
“It suggests the future agreement is based on an EU Association Agreement, designed to get countries to converge with the EU prior to joining. This is not a good model. The ECJ remains supreme over issues of EU law in any dispute.
“The reworked Northern Ireland protocol raises the issue of how could Northern Ireland extricate from following EU rules and customs practices? This is an important question, as this draft Withdrawal Treaty does not have an Article 50 allowing unilateral exit”.
The Attorney General Cox
says the Government has released its legal position, which he’s endorsed, after having studied the new Withdrawal Agreement. For the first time, Cox has agreed “that the protocol on Northern Ireland can be terminated. Article 18 of the Protocol provides for a process by which democratic consent in Northern Ireland must be obtained to the continued application of Articles 5 to 10 of the Protocol after an initial period ending four years after the end of the transition period.
“The mechanism for obtaining democratic consent is set out in the unilateral declaration referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 18. Article 18 plainly makes the continuation of the application of Articles 5 to 10 of the Protocol conditional upon the obtaining of consent by the mechanism described in the Unilateral Declaration.
“There are no grounds for supposing that the EU would have any legal basis to assert that Articles 5 to 10 of the Protocol should continue to apply absent that consent or that the EU would possess a veto over the right of members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly to withhold consent to the continued application of those provisions”.