UK Politics: Theresa May faces contempt of Parliament threat as Brexit debate looms

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A contempt of Parliament motion is the latest threat to Theresa May's Brexit deal

A contempt of Parliament motion is the latest threat to Theresa May's Brexit deal, as the Commons prepares for five days of debates on the issue. The Tradefair team brings you the latest in UK Politics...

"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."

- Sam Gyimah, MP

The Labour Party may bring a contempt of Parliament motion if Theresa May does not publish the full legal advice on her Brexit deal.

May is back in the UK after attending the G20 summit in Argentina last week and now faces the first test in her attempt to get her plan for Britain's exit from the European Union (EU) through the House of Commons.

Labour believes the legal advice on the Prime Minister's Brexit deal should be published in full, but she says the advice is confidential. MPs believe this view contradicts a Commons vote that took place last month, stating that the government needs to show Parliament "any legal advice in full". MPs who supported Brexit are also concerned ministers do not want to publish the advice because it shows the UK could be linked to EU customs rules indefinitely, the BBC reports.

Plan to release limited version draws criticism

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show over the weekend, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Barry Gardiner said Theresa May faced a "very serious constitutional crisis" if she refused to publish the legal advice. Meanwhile, his Labour colleague Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said to Sky News failure to do so would put the government and Parliament on a "collision course". Mr Gardiner added a general election would be the only acceptable outcome if the legal advice was not released.

Sam Gyimah, who last week became the latest MP to quit government over Brexit, said on Twitter that releasing the advice is "key to restoring trust in politics".

Labour intends to work with the DUP to begin contempt of Parliament proceedings if the documents are not released in full. Later today (December 3), Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will brief the Commons, during which - as it stands - he will release a reduced version of the advice and field questions from MPs.

Ministers split as Brexit deal debate looms

Tomorrow (December 4) sees the start of five days of debates on May's Brexit deal, with a final vote on whether to approve it due on December 11. Government ministers will be fighting to change the minds of those MPs who are against the Brexit deal, and are convinced that the uncertainty of other options, namely a no-deal Brexit or no Brexit at all, are enough to convince MPs to get behind the Prime Minister's plan.

However, Deputy Political Editor for the BBC John Pienaar said that as it stands, it looks like she is facing a "heavy defeat" on the issue. Were that to happen, the already convoluted process of leaving the EU could be thrown into further turmoil.

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