Brexit: Theresa May government found in contempt of Parliament over legal advice

In a major climb down for Theresa May and a victory for the Opposition, the British government is set to publish the full and final legal advice given to it on the withdrawal deal agreed with EU nations, after a cross-party coalition of MPs won a motion finding the government in contempt of Parliament.

Following a lengthy debate on December 4 afternoon, during which the government introduced an amendment attempting to thwart the contempt motion, MPs voted for the disclosure by 311 to 293 votes, with Labour, the Greens, the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, and some MPs from the Conservatives, as well as their former allies the Democratic Unionists of Norther Ireland, coming together in an extraordinary and unprecedented show of political unity.

It is the first time ever that a British government has been found in contempt of Parliament in such a way and was one of three significant votes lost by the government on December 4 afternoon.

The third amendment lost by the government was tabled by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve that sought to give Parliament a greater say should the government be defeated in the forthcoming vote on the Brexit deal on December 11. The amendment enables MPs to change any proposals brought back to Parliament after this, greatly strengthening the hand of Parliament, and making it harder for the government to suggest that if Parliament did not pass their deal Britain would crash out of the EU.

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