MPs vote for Dominic Grieve's Brexit amendment

05 December, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Brexit UK can revoke Article 50 without EU approval

The British government said they will published the "final and full" advice on Wednesday.

In a historic first, the British Parliament found the government of Prime Minister Theresa May in contempt on Tuesday for failing to release in full the advice it received from the country's top law officer about the terms of exiting the EU.

They put forward a motion, which was backed by 311-293 in a vote on Tuesday, that found ministers in contempt of Parliament and ordered the immediate publication of the advice.

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.

The unprecedented defeat was compounded when the government lost another key vote on the power MPs would have if May's Brexit deal is voted down next Tuesday.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the finding of contempt was "a badge of shame" for the Government, with "huge constitutional and political significance".

The vote marked the first time in history a United Kingdom government has been found in contempt of parliament.

We've tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject.

If May's Brexit plan is voted down, the government would have to come back to Parliament with an alternative plan within 21 days and it could then be changed by MPs - a growing number of whom favour a Norway-style relationship which would include Single Market membership.

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With the prime minister's challenge in winning next week's vote looking all but insurmountable, MPs in the deeply-divided House of Commons are increasingly concerned about what happens next.

The advice from the ECJ advocate general - not binding but usually heeded by the court - suggested to some lawmakers that revoking Britain's "Article 50" divorce notice was an option.

Pro-EU lawmakers said they had made the prospect of a "no-deal" Brexit less likely by securing an amendment giving Parliament more power to guide the government's next steps if the deal is rejected on December 11.

This could open the door for the Commons to throw its weight behind a Norway-style soft Brexit or even a second European Union referendum, though prominent Leave-backing MPs questioned whether any such vote would be binding on ministers. He added: "Theresa May's majority has evaporated, and the credibility of her deal is evaporating with it".

The British leader kickstarted five days of parliamentary debate on her proposed withdrawal agreement with a statement to parliament on Tuesday.

A small number of Labour rebels could support her, but the party's official position is to vote against the deal.

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

The Prime Minister faces widespread opposition from MPs across the Commons - including both the Leave and Remain wings of her own party - ahead of the vote. They claim that London will be forced to follow European Union rules without having a say in them; they also say that the European Union common external tariff will prevent London from enforcing free trade agreements on goods with non-EU countries.


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