British MPs debate whether gov't breaks rule over legal advice on Brexit

British MPs debate whether gov't breaks rule over legal advice on Brexit

British MPs debate whether gov't breaks rule over legal advice on Brexit

Theresa May has made a last-ditch attempt to rally MPs behind her Brexit deal after suffering the historic humiliation of seeing her Government found in contempt of Parliament.

This was after MPs found the government in contempt of Parliament for not publishing its full legal advice on Theresa May's Brexit deal.

"The debate is expected to start at 12:45 p.m.", the parliament said.

This could open the door for the Commons to throw its weight behind a Norway-style soft Brexit, or even a second European Union referendum, though prominent Leave-backing MPs questioned whether any such vote would be binding on ministers.

A motion tabled by Labour, the SNP, other opposition parties and the DUP which argued ministers were in contempt due to their failure to fully publish advice given by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was approved by 311 votes to 293, majority 18.

The vote on the motion to find ministers in contempt of parliament is said to be a precursor on how MPs will vote on the government's Brexit deal next week.

Since the Commons debate, Lib Dem spokesman Tom Brake said Mr Cox should be suspended if he is found in contempt of Parliament.

In practice, it means that should Parliament refuse to accept the prime minister's deal, MPs could instruct her to extend negotiations, hold another referendum, or pursue a different sort of Brexit like a softer, Norway-style exit.

Her spokesman said the cabinet had discussed the motion on Tuesday but maintained that ministers must be able to obtain candid legal advice "without fear that it will be immediately published".

But Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said: "No honourable member could say in all honesty that the Attorney General has done anything other than treat this House with the greatest of respect, there can be no question that he or the Government has acted in a manner which is contemptuous of this House".

The full legal advice given to ministers is understood to run to several thousand pages.

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Leadsom said: "We've tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject".

The vote, which was spearheaded by Conservative Dominic Grieve and saw 26 Tory MPs rebel against the government, could potentially tilt the balance of power between government and Parliament.

As she sought the backing of the Commons for her Brexit deal, the prime minister said the United Kingdom would enjoy a "better future" outside the European Union.

- The BBC dropped proposals for a TV debate featuring Mrs May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn followed by a discussion between eight panellists including politicians from different sides of the Brexit argument.

The advice from the ECJ advocate general - not binding but usually heeded by the court - suggested to some lawmakers that revoking Britain's "Article 50" divorce notice was an option.

After Labour demanded the advice should be released ahead of next Tuesday's key vote on Mrs May's deal, Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was "unimaginable" this would not happen.

Meanwhile, Mr Carney told the Commons Treasury Committee that increased tariff prices, import costs and a collapse in the value of the pound after a no-deal Brexit would send food prices soaring "quite quickly". Rejecting it would leave the United Kingdom facing the prospect of a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit, but May's chances of winning majority backing for the deal appear slim.

"This is a huge win for us, and a huge step forward from the highest court in the business, and confirms what we have been hoping for: that the United Kingdom can indeed change its mind on Brexit and revoke Article 50, unilaterally", he said.

She says her deal will maintain close economic ties with the European Union while enabling Britain to trade more freely with the rest of the world and meet voters' demands to reduce immigration.

And she will insist: "This is the deal that delivers for the British people".

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