MPs vote for Dominic Grieve's Brexit amendment

Dec 05, 2018, 00:47
MPs vote for Dominic Grieve's Brexit amendment

The House of Commons voted 311-293 in favour of a motion censuring the government over failing to release the legal advice.

Opposition parties and her own nominal allies in the Northern Irish DUP were pressing on Tuesday for her government to be found in contempt of parliament for failing to publish in full the legal advice on Brexit that it commissioned.

The defeat means the government will now have to publish the legal advice given to Cabinet ministers on the Brexit deal - despite insisting it would not be in the national interest to do so.

Critics of the government said they suspect the advice will reveal the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox's misgivings about the Brexit agreement.

The parliamentary vote has delayed a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May at the start of five days of debate on the deal itself before a final vote on December 11 which the government is expected to lose.

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But it does highlight how little control May's fragile minority government has over MPs ahead of next Tuesday crucial vote.

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

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a full-blown constitutional crisis after the speaker's ruling.

MPs backed a move that could put Parliament in the driving seat if the Brexit deal is rejected on December 11 by giving the Commons the power to amend a motion that Mrs May would be required to make within the following 21 days to set out the Government's next steps.

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Minutes earlier, the Government's attempt to have the contempt motion kicked into the long grass by referring it to the Committee of Privileges had been defeated by 311 votes to 307, majority four.

"We have tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject", Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons said after the vote took place.

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".

Mrs May's appearance in the Commons on Tuesday will coincide with a presentation at the European Court of Justice, which is hearing a claim by a cross-party group of Scottish MPs, MSPs and MEPs that Westminster politicians could reverse Article 50 - the clause that initiated Brexit - without the consent of the 27 other EU member states.

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

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But her chances of winning majority backing for the deal look slim.

Mrs May will tell MPs: "The British people want us to get on with a deal that honours the referendum and allows us to come together again as a country, whichever way we voted".

"We should not let the search for a ideal Brexit prevent a good Brexit which delivers on the wishes of the British people".

"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.

Failure to do so would trigger a "backstop" arrangement that keeps Britain in an EU customs union - with Northern Ireland also following EU rules on regulation of goods.

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