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Britain’s Attorney General Deals Blow to May’s Rejigged Brexit Deal

Britain’s attorney general has dealt a potentially fatal blow to Theresa May’s rejigged Brexit deal as lawmakers prepare to vote on it later today. The prime minister returned from Europe late Monday night with what she claimed were “legally binding” changes to the deal that was overwhelmingly rejected last month. She claims the changes mean the Irish backstop—the controversial measure designed to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland—could not “become permanent” as anti-EU lawmakers had feared. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has published legal advice that shoots down some of her claims. He writes that if Britain wanted to remove itself from the backstop, it “would have… no internationally lawful means of exiting the [the backstop] arrangements, save by agreement [with the EU].” Support for the rejigged deal likely hinged on Cox’s confirmation that something substantial had changed. The deal now appears to be heading for its second defeat in the House of Commons.