Matthew Taylor

Sunday shows round-up: Stephen Barclay – our Brexit proposals are ‘very serious’

The Brexit Secretary joined Andrew Marr to discuss the government’s latest proposals for negotiation with the EU 27, which are aimed chiefly at finding a replacement for the controversial ‘backstop’ arrangement for Northern Ireland. The plans outline a new ‘regulatory zone’ which would have to be regularly agreed to by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Critics have suggested that the proposals are not realistic, but Barclay defended the government’s new approach:

SB: We have put forward very serious proposals, which I think people across the EU recognise address many of their concerns… We’ve brought forward proposals on a regulatory zone, but with the crucial addition of consent in order to address the concerns that came up before.

The government ‘will abide by the law’

Barclay insisted that the government was going to follow the rule of law, despite accusations of the contrary. This would mean that – in accordance with the Benn Act – the government will send a letter asking for an extension to negotiations if no agreement is reached by the 19th October. However, Barclay did not rule out the possibility that the government might try to subvert the letter in other ways, such as potentially asking European allies to exercise their right to veto the extension:

SB: I can absolutely confirm that the government will abide by the law… Whatever the law says the government we will comply with the law… To get a deal is the best way to deal with the Benn legislation.

Shami Chakrabarti – No loophole in the Benn Act

However, the Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti told Marr that she did not feel that there was any legal way for the government to challenge the Benn Act.

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