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Theresa May’s government has been found in contempt of Parliament

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Theresa May
Theresa May
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  • MPs vote to find the UK government in contempt of
    parliament after it refused to release official legal advice on
    Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
  • The vote spells trouble for May’s administration as she
    prepares for an upcoming parliamentary vote on the
    deal.
  • This is the first time a government has been found in
    contempt by parliament.

LONDON — Theresa May’s government has been found in contempt of
parliament after it refused to comply with a motion passed by MPs
demanding that it release the full official legal advice on the
prime minister’s Brexit deal.

MPs voted by 311 to 293 to find ministers in contempt. It is the
first time any UK government has been found in contempt by its
MPs in parliamentary history.

Following the vote the government announced that they would now
comply with the demand to publish the advice, but only after a
separate parliamentary committee have examined it.

The motion, passed on Tuesday evening, did not name any
individual minister.

However, if May’s government had continued to refuse to comply
with the demands to release the legal advice in full then the
Attorney General or other ministers could have faced suspension
from Parliament.

It is a long-standing constitutional convention in the UK that
Parliament is sovereign and the executive must be subject to its
will. However, the government had argued that a separate
convention against revealing confidential legal advice supplied
to ministers had precedence.

MPs today rejected that position, as well as a separate motion to
have the matter decided by a committee of MPs at a later date.
The latter amendment was narrowly rejected by 311 votes to
307.

The decision, which was backed by a nunber of Conservative MPs,
spells trouble for May’s government as it approaches the crucial
vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal due to take place next
Tuesday. 

More follows…

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