The Express: UK has ‘no choice’ over Brexit backstop – ‘EU would have us over a barrel’

Ministers have misrepresented the consequences of Theresa May’s Brexit deal and despite claims the UK has a “choice” over escaping the much-maligned Irish backstop, the only certain way to avoid it is to reject her terms, a leading barrister has warned.

Martin Howe QC said some MPs wrongly believe Parliament could pass an amendment which would allow Britain to quit the backstop arrangement. The legal expert warned the terms of Mrs May’s deal clearly state that Brussels has the final say over when the UK can leave – and a “parliamentary lock” over whether to enter the arrangement would be nothing more than a “mirage”. Mr Howe said claims by Mrs May that the UK has a “choice” over whether to enter the backstop are misleading.

In a damning criticism of the Government’s approach, he said the Prime Minister’s “desperation” to pass her Brexit deal has led to Downing Street straying “beyond the realms of normal political spin and exaggeration into the territory of relying on misrepresentation of the legal consequences”.

And he said the only real choice over the backstop that MPs have is the decision over whether to accept or reject the deal.

The Prime Minister has spent the week desperately attempting to secure reassurances from the EU over the Irish backstop terms set out in her Brexit deal.

The arrangement would see the whole UK remain in the bloc’s customs union to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

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