Tory Brexit anger as Attorney General says backstop ‘indefinite’

04 December, 2018, 00:53 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • It’s no use baying and shouting’ Attorney general Geoffrey Cox tells MPs yesterday he is guarding the national interest by not publishing the advice in full

However, Starmer said seeking a confidence vote against May would be inevitable if she loses the Brexit vote.

"We would now ask that you consider giving the House of Commons the opportunity to debate and consider this matter of contempt at the earliest opportunity", it added.

Members are unsatisfied, however, and the Labour Party, Green Party, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, and even the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on whom Theresa May's minority government relies for a parliamentary majority are moving to find the Government and the Attorney-General himself in contempt of Parliament.

Starmer said Labour would accuse the government of being in contempt of Parliament if it does not release all of the attorney general's input.

Any punishment suggested would need to be approved by the Commons before being enforced.

"The legal summary document is worse than we feared: the backstop customs union is indefinite, the United Kingdom would be a rule taker and the European Court (of Justice) is in charge of our destiny, rather than the sovereign United Kingdom parliament", former Brexit minister David Davis said.

If Parliament rejects the Brexit deal, what can PM May do?

Just eight days before the big vote on the deal, Cox sparked anger when he published only a "legal position" on Monday, rather than the "full legal advice" insisted on by the House of Commons last month.

Neither a "reasoned position statement" nor a document "setting out the Government's legal position" constitute the final and full advice provided by the Attorney General to the Cabinet.

Mrs May told This Morning: "I'm keen to have a head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn, I hope this actually goes through".

Leading Brexiter Liam Fox urges support for May’s deal | Financial Times
Former Universities Minister Says PM's Deal "Isn't A Deal"

"In this case I am convinced that in order to disclose any advice that might have been given would be fundamentally contrary to the interests of this country", Mr Cox said.

"I hate to say this on ITV but I'm a bit of a Strictly fan".

May is battling to persuade skeptical British lawmakers to back the deal agreed between her government and the European Union last month.

May must clear before Parliament votes on December 11 on her deal for Britain's exit from the European Union.

"Levelling with the public and parliament on Brexit is key to restoring trust in politics, healing divisions and unifying the country behind any preferred outcome", he said on Twitter.

"The principle problem I have with it, is that it isn't a deal", he said.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain's departure from the European Union, direct from Business Insider's political reporters.

He told the BBC's Marr show that the deal was not "perfect" but if it not was supported in the Commons there was a risk of "no Brexit at all".

◙ In Scotland, a cross-party motion set to be debated at Hollyrood next week is calling for the rejection of both May's withdrawal agreement and a no-deal Brexit, saying a "better alternative" must be found.

May has acknowledged the Brexit deal is not ideal, but says it delivers on voters' decision to leave the European Union while retaining close ties with the bloc, a key trading partner and ally.

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