Three defeats as May’s authority takes a battering in the Commons

05 December, 2018, 03:55 | Author: Angel Logan
  • UK told Brexit could be cancelled without approval of other members

"We've listened carefully and in light of the expressed will of the House we will publish the final and full advice provided by the Attorney General to Cabinet".

Theresa May bowed to demands to publish the "final and full" legal advice on her Brexit deal after suffering a humiliating Commons defeat.

There is no requirement for the government to share legal advice on new policies, nor is there precedent for legal advice to be routinely published.

Twenty-five Conservative MPs rebelled to support Tory former minister Dominic Grieve's amendment created to give Parliament a greater say on Brexit plans if the Government's EU Withdrawal Agreement is rejected next week, according to the division list.

"Article 50 TEU [Treaty of the European Union] allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU", Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, an advocate general at the EU court in Luxembourg, said on Tuesday (4 December).

The main opposition Labour Party's shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, claimed the decision was of "huge constitutional and political significance".

"It is, I think unprecedented for this House to find government ministers in contempt". The petitioners in the case - six Scottish MPs, MEPs and MSPs, along with Devereux Chambers' Jolyon Maugham QC - argue the case will help clarify the realistic options for MPs who will vote on Theresa May's "Chequers deal" a week today.

"This is the deal that delivers for the British people."

UK told Brexit could be cancelled without approval of other members
Political crisis in UK ahead of Brexit debate

On Tuesday, representatives from the Labour party, the Liberal Democratic party, the SNP, the DUP, the Green party and the Welsh Plaid Cymru party has written a joint letter to the speaker of the House of Commons calling for action to be taken against the government.

Advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona's non-binding opinion said Article 50 allows the "unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the European Union, until such time as the Withdrawal Agreement is formally concluded".

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve's amendment will give MPs more of a say if Mrs May loses the crunch vote on her Brexit deal.

"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.

"They've agreed that on one principle Parliament will tell whether it wants this deal or it doesn't".

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

"I pay tribute to Andy Wightman for leading on this important issue, which the UK Government had tried to stymie at every turn. But I didn't play to gallery, I focused on getting a deal, that honours the referendum, sets us on course for a bright future and I did so through painstaking hard work". Lawmakers are due to hold five days of discussion before voting December 11 on whether to accept or reject the agreement, which lays out the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc on March 29 and sets the framework for future relations with the EU.

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