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

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May brushed aside questions Monday about whether she will resign if her Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament next week, saying she's confident she'll still have a job after the crucial vote.

Their complaint to Mr Bercow said a 52-page summary of the advice "does not comply" with a Commons vote last month, which demanded the full text be released.

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

The main opposition Labour Party's shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, claimed the decision was of "huge constitutional and political significance".

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.

A senior European Union legal adviser said on Tuesday Britain had the right to withdraw its Brexit notice, opening a new front in a battle over Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to leave the bloc, which could be rejected in parliament next week.

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.

The Government's amendment to the contempt motion would allow the Committee of Privileges to look at the issue and "consider the national interest arguments for not releasing the legal advice alongside the Government's duty to Parliament", Mrs May's spokesman said.

"By treating Parliament with contempt, the Government has proved it has lost its majority and the respect of the House".

If that happens, the government is required to come back within 21 days and say what it plans to do.

The Labour Party and others, including the DUP, said that the vote is so important for the future of the country that lawmakers should be able to see any detailed legal warnings concerning parts of the withdrawal agreement.

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.

An Anti Brexit campaigner waves flags in Westminster in London, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.

May was still due to address parliament later on Tuesday.

Mr Cox was repeatedly challenged about the issue in the Commons on Monday but insisted it was in the public interest for the advice he gave to ministers to remain confidential.

Other reports by iNewsToday