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Government facing contempt motion ahead of Brexit debate

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Prime Minister Theresa May was to open a five-day debate today on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. However, MPs are currently debating whether to find ministers in contempt of Parliament over their decision not to release the full legal advice on the Brexit deal.

What happened was that the government’s chief legal adviser, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, published an overview of his legal advice to the Cabinet about the EU withdrawal agreement on Monday.

But opposition parties criticised this saying that by limiting the information released, ministers ignored a binding Commons vote, demanding they release the full advice.

Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg warns that governments who “run roughshod” over parliamentary privilege find things more difficult when they are in opposition.

He says that he recognises that Labour’s motion calling for the advice to be published was not tabled to harm the nation – and accuses ministers of confusing the national interest with the government interest.

However, he says he will support the government’s amendment to the contempt motion to be voted on this afternoon, which refers the matter to the Commons Privileges Committee.




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