Imagine a scenario where the Withdrawal Agreement, as it currently stands, (the one which the House of Commons has rejected by 230 votes), is signed, and following a Transition Period, the UK and EU have failed to reach a Trade Agreement.
The following may be an over-simplification but broadly I understand the position to be that a "backstop" then applies so as to keep the whole of the UK in the Customs Union, and in addition Northern Ireland in the Single Market.
Now, it is frequently complained both by right-wing Conservatives, and members of the Labour Party, that Britain would not be able to "exit the backstop".But what exactly would it mean "to exit the backstop"?
Where is it envisaged Britain would be "exiting the backstop" to go? Presumably not back to EU membership. "Exiting" can only mean going to "no-deal" involving WTO terms, and a hard border in Ireland.
So is it the case that Britain would simply not be able to abrogate the agreement? If that is the case, surely it is unusual for there to be an international agreement, which one party, subject to giving proper notice, is not able to leave. Are there any other examples of such concluded agreements?
Or is it simply being said that Britain could not "exit the backstop" while keeping an open border with Ireland?