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United Kingdom government found in contempt of parliament

04 December 2018

The vote comes immediately after MPs voted to find Theresa May's government in contempt of parliament over its failure to publish its legal advice on the Brexit deal.

The House of Commons has found the government in contempt of parliament for not releasing its legal advice on Brexit despite being instructed to do so by MPs.

The government said that in light of the vote it would publish the advice from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on Wednesday.

"It is of huge constitutional and political significance", Keir Starmer, the Opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, said after the vote.

Theresa May is facing opposition in both directions over her Brexit deal.

The British House of Commons is scheduled to hold a debate on Tuesday afternoon on whether the United Kingdom government is in contempt of parliament for withholding its legal advice on Brexit.

Mr Cox might be one of the country's most accomplished barristers, but he failed to convince sceptical MPs there was no public interest in publishing the government's full legal advice.

- 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 main thrust of Cox's advice is already known - the government released a 43-page document on it Monday in a bid to fend off the contempt motion.

Politicians on both sides of Britain's European Union membership debate oppose the agreement that May struck with the bloc - pro-Brexit ones because it keeps Britain bound closely to the European Union, and pro-EU politicians because it erects barriers between the United Kingdom and its biggest trading partner.

Chris Leslie, the Labour backbencher backing the amendment, said: "MPs are going to gradually assert their rights - including the right to instruct the government in future stages".

If, against the odds, May wins the vote, Britain will leave the European Union on March 29 on terms negotiated with Brussels - its biggest shift in trade and foreign policy for more than 40 years.

Under the terms of the EU Withdrawal Act, the government will have 21 days to come back to parliament with a motion, setting out what it plans to do.

But the problem - seven days out from the vote - hasn't changed: Up to 100 Conservative MPs quite simply think this deal is so bad that they are not prepared to vote for it.

The pound had climbed back from fresh lows earlier in the day after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) suggested the United Kingdom could change its mind about Brexit by unilaterally withdrawing Article 50.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018.

The vote was passed by a majority of 22 in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

United Kingdom government found in contempt of parliament