Leading Brexiteer David Davis has given a cautious welcome to Theresa May’s new deal.
The former Brexit Secretary said subtle changes to the terms make it “just about acceptable”.
But he said it all hinges on whether Attorney General Geoffrey Cox deems the agreement to have “real legal force”.
Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO, he said: “If Geoffrey Cox says that this has legal force, the requirement to work on alternative arrangements, the date of the end of 2020 – that’s key, that wasn’t mentioned earlier -and our right to walk away, and independent arbitration, by the way, not arbitration by the European Court of Human Rights, which none of us view as independent … all those things together make it just about, just about, acceptable to me.”
But he added: “It depends very very heavily on robust and clear response from Mr Cox. If he is at all equivocal about it, then I think it will fall again.
“What matters is whether this has legal force. I was never one to say this or that thing has got to be inside the text or whatever.”
Mr David welcomed the set date of the end of 2020, which he said is a “good date” because it will coincide with the end of the implementation period.
“So we really will leave on the 1st of January 2021,” he said.
“It says the two sides will attempt to get the alternative arrangements in place by then, so there won’t be a backstop – the backstop won’t come into force because you’ll have your alternative arrangements.”