British MPs set to vote on 'contempt of parliament' accusation

Leroy Wright
December 4, 2018

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

It's an embarrassing defeat for Theresa May's government, who now face five days of Brexit debate, before the crunch vote on the deal agreed with the European Union on December 11.

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.

If the motion is passed it would be the first time a government has been found to be in contempt, and could result in senior ministers being suspended from parliament.

This is a far greater concern for No 10 than sanctioning of the government or a minister for contempt, which helps explain why the prime minister has deployed leading Brexiteers Mr Cox and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, in the past two days to try and sell her imperfect deal to Brexiteer MPs.

Opposition parties and the small Northern Irish party that props up Ms May's minority Government are furious that it only provided an outline of the legal basis for its Brexit deal after Parliament voted to be given the full advice.

"Never before has the House of Commons found Ministers in contempt of Parliament".

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

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It had tried to head off the contempt vote with an amendment that would have sent the issue off to consideration by a parliamentary committee.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is due to address Parliament Tuesday, opening five days of debate before a December 11 vote on the divorce agreement.

Many lawmakers were also angry over being shown what they described as a summary, not the full legal advice on May's Brexit deal which her government had seen.

MPs have voted for an amendment that will ensure MPs can vote in favour of a "plan B" option in January if Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Agreement gets voted down.

The Prime Minister told Cabinet that the publication of the document setting out the legal position on Monday and the Attorney General's appearance in the Commons "are by themselves extraordinary steps for any government to take".

But the contempt vote sent sterling down against the dollar to $1.267, its lowest level since June 2017.

The Pound will continue to experience volatility in the coming days as Theresa May works to push her deal through Parliament, a prospect many political analysts believed unlikely before today's developments.

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