Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

May loses vote on Brexit legal advice

May loses vote on Brexit legal advice

The British government said they will published the "final and full" advice on Wednesday.

They put forward a motion, which was backed by 311-293 in a vote, that found ministers in contempt of Parliament and ordered the immediate publication of the advice.

The amendment will have to be considered before Theresa May can open five days of historic debate on her painstakingly-negotiated Brexit deal.

Mr Brake told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Clearly the Attorney General is the one who came to present the government's case for not releasing this and I suppose he is in line for being in contempt, and I think the house should consider suspending him for that action".

Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the contempt finding was "unprecedented", and the government said it would now publish the advice.

It is the first time in modern history that a Government has been found in contempt of Parliament.

He argued that it would not be "in the national interest" to publish his advice in full as it would break a longstanding convention that law officers' advice to ministers is confidential.

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Starting Tuesday, the British Parliament will debate whether to accept the terms of the deal that was negotiated by May and representatives from the European Union.

"This is the deal that delivers for the British people."

The government in fact lost three votes, each by narrow but significant margins, demonstrating the huge difficulties it will face in the coming week in a debate and subsequent vote on that deal, which must pass if Brexit is to go ahead as the government plans. It was always a nonsense that MPs, after the "meaningful vote", would be somehow gagged from expressing a view.

In an address to parliament on Monday, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox claimed publishing the full extent of legal advice he provided the government over the deal would be "contrary to the public interest".

The government had attempted to have the issue referred to the cross-party Privileges Committee in a prior vote but the proposal was defeated by four votes.

Majority support would mean she can introduce a formal EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill to parliament for consideration and ratification in early 2019.

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