Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Brexit: UK ministers found in contempt of parliament

Brexit: UK ministers found in contempt of parliament

It came after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox published a summary of the advice on Monday and answered MPs questions for three hours - but said that full publication would not be in the national interest.

Britain's government suffered a stinging rebuke from MPs ahead of Tuesday's (Dec 4) momentous Brexit debate, exposing Prime Minister Theresa May's lack of support in parliament.

In a landmark vote on Tuesday, parliamentarians in the lower chamber House of Commons backed a motion, tabled a day before by six parties, demanding full disclosure of the counsel by 311 votes to 293.

There is no requirement for the government to share legal advice on new policies, nor is there precedent for legal advice to be routinely published.

Monday's angry session of Parliament did not bode well for the December 11 vote, which will come at the end of five days of bruising debate starting on Tuesday.

In yet another blow to Theresa May's Brexit plans, MPs voted on Tuesday in favour of getting a "meaningful vote" if the Prime Minister's proposals are voted down.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the finding of contempt was "a badge of shame" for the Government, with "huge constitutional and political significance". But the contempt vote demonstrated the fragility of May's government, which does not have a majority in Parliament.

May is battling to persuade lawmakers to support the divorce agreement she has sealed with the European Union when the House of Commons votes on December 11. Pro-EU lawmakers and the DUP, which props up her government, say they will vote against, and the main opposition Labour Party says it will try to unseat her.

These concerns are not likely to derail the Brexit debates; however, the deal will probably not pass on its first reading based on Parliamentary arithmetic and May's minority conservative government.

She said the Government, which had sought to slow down the process by referring the issue to Parliament's Committee of Privileges, had fulfilled the spirit of the order to publish.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered three Brexit defeats in the Commons as she set out to sell her European Union deal to sceptical MPs.

Despite her entreaties, the government appeared to be on a collision course with an increasingly assertive Parliament over the next steps in the U.K.'s exit.

We've tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject.

If she loses, May could call for a second vote on the deal.

At the Commons Business Committee, Toyota Europe deputy managing director Tony Walker warned that without a deal to protect cross-continent supply chains, its operations in the United Kingdom would face major challenges.

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

Advocate General Campos Sanchez-Bordona stated that Britain could halt the entire process without the agreement of other European Union countries.

May's opponents argue that Britain can renegotiate the deal for better terms.

But May's spokesman told reporters: "It does nothing in any event to change the clear position of the government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked".

Hardline Conservative Brexiteers say May's compromise deal does not represent enough of a break with Brussels.

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