Brexit: UK ministers found in contempt of parliament


However, the government responded on Monday by publishing only a 43-page summary of the advice and taking the unusual step of sending the British Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, to the House of Commons to make a statement and answer questions from members of parliament.

"That this House finds ministers in contempt for their failure to comply with the requirements of the motion for return passed on 13 November 2018, to publish the final and full legal advice provided by the attorney general to the cabinet concerning the European Union withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship, and orders its immediate publication".

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom confirmed the u-turn over the legal advice after MPs decided her ministers were in "contempt" of Parliament.

The vote also orders the immediate publication of the "final and full" legal advice on the Brexit deal.

An attempt by ministers to refer the whole issue, including the government's conduct, to the committee of MPs was earlier defeated by four votes.

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

In a thumping defeat for the government, Theresa May's ministers will have to publish the Brexit legal advice.

The U.K. ministers have been found in contempt of parliament over their failure to publish its full legal advice on the draft withdrawal agreement signed with the EU. "Over 100 Conservative MPs have said they are not going to back the deal, the Labour Party have said they are not going to back the deal".

Responding to the result, the ruling Conservative Party's Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom said the government meant to publish the advice on Wednesday.

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It leaves the Prime Minister facing what increasingly appears to be an inevitable.

It comes as the European Court of Justice found that Britain can reverse Article 50 and cancel Brexit without the permission of Europe.

She has toured the country and television studios to try to sell her deal, but a move to present her government's legal advice to Parliament seemed to backfire on Monday.

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

Opening five days of debate on the Brexit deal, May told Parliament that the British people had voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, and it was the "duty of this Parliament to deliver on the result" of the referendum.

However, Conservative whips may hope by opening up the prospect that parliament could push the government towards a softer Brexit, the amendment may convince a few Brexiters to throw their weight reluctantly behind May's deal.

Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney hit back at "unfair" criticism, after pro-Brexit MPs accused him of scaremongering.

"If I had banged the table, walked out of the room and at the end of the process delivered the very same deal that is before us today some might say I'd done a better job".

But May has no intention of revoking the notice, her spokesman said, despite facing a daunting struggle to secure parliament's approval in the key vote on December 11 after her plan was criticised by Brexit supporters and opponents alike.