December 5, 2018 / 12:08 PM / 14 days ago

Irish backstop for UK's Brexit withdrawal deal could last "indefinitely"

LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Britain could be trapped “indefinitely” in a customs union with the European Union if lawmakers back Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to details of the government’s full legal advice on the deal published on Wednesday.

“Despite statements in the Protocol that it is not intended to be permanent and the clear intention of the parties that it should be replaced by alternative, permanent arrangements, in international law the Protocol would endure indefinitely until a superseding agreement took its place,” the advice said.

The Protocol refers to the so-called Irish backstop agreement in May’s withdrawal deal she has agreed with the EU to prevent the return of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic. (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

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