British MPs wrangle ahead of momentous Brexit debate

Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions
Credit
PA

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox sets out the legal advice to MPs in the House of Commns, central London on the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Theresa May has made a last-ditch attempt to rally MPs behind her Brexit deal after suffering the historic humiliation of seeing her Government found in contempt of Parliament.

The Commons supported a motion demanding full disclosure of the government's legal advice, by 311 votes to 293.

Opponents believe the advice will reveal Attorney General Geoffrey Cox's misgivings about the Brexit agreement.

The dispute over whether Mr Cox's advice should be published threatened to overshadow the start of a marathon Commons debate on the deal which will be opened by Mrs May on Tuesday ahead of the crunch vote on December 11.

Mr Grieve said: "Parliament has tonight asserted its sovereignty to ensure that amendments - such as for a People's Vote - can be made to any motion if or when the Government's proposed deal for leaving the European Union has been defeated".

"It is of huge constitutional and political significance", Keir Starmer, the Opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman, said after the vote.

He added: "Even at this eleventh hour, I would urge ministers to step back from the brink and to not go down in history as the first Government to be found in contempt".

The prime minister needs roughly 320 votes in the House of Commons to secure the approval of her deal.

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In practice, it means that should Parliament refuse to accept the prime minister's deal, MPs could instruct her to extend negotiations, hold another referendum, or pursue a different sort of Brexit like a softer, Norway-style exit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May brushed aside questions Monday about whether she will resign if her Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament next week, saying she's confident she'll still have a job after the crucial vote.

The government had attempted to have the issue referred to the cross-party Privileges Committee in a prior vote but the proposal was defeated by four votes.

Another interesting event today is the notion that Parliament can take control of the process.

Mrs May's appearance in the Commons on Tuesday will coincide with a presentation at the European Court of Justice, which is hearing a claim by a cross-party group of Scottish MPs, MSPs and MEPs that Westminster politicians could reverse Article 50 - the clause that initiated Brexit - without the consent of the 27 other EU member states.

May's spokesman, James Slack, said the opinion didn't change "the clear position of the government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked".

Meanwhile, Mr Carney stepped up his warnings about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. Rejecting it would leave the United Kingdom facing the prospect of a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit, but May's chances of winning majority backing for the deal appear slim.

Over the coming days she will deploy senior Cabinet ministers to make the case, with Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid expected to appear at the despatch box.

"We should not let the search for a flawless Brexit prevent a good Brexit which delivers on the wishes of the British people".

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