Theresa May suffers three Brexit defeats in Commons

Responding to the result, the ruling Conservative Party's Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom said the government meant to publish the advice on Wednesday.

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom announced the Government will publish the "final and full" legal advice provided by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal tomorrow.

The cross-party motion tabled by Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, DUP, Plaid Cymru and Green Party states that the House of Commons finds ministers in contempt for failing to comply with the resolution passed by MPs in November demanding the legal advice and "orders its immediate publication".

May refused to publish on the basis that such "candid" legal advice given to ministers should be understood to be confidential.

In an address to parliament on Monday, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox claimed publishing the full extent of legal advice he provided the government over the deal would be "contrary to the public interest".

Opening five days of debate on the Brexit deal, May told Parliament that the British people had voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, and it was the "duty of this Parliament to deliver on the result" of the referendum.

The debate is likely to affect the upcoming parliamentary vote.

This could open the door for the Commons to throw its weight behind a Norway-style soft Brexit, or even a second European Union referendum, though prominent Leave-backing MPs questioned whether any such vote would be binding on ministers.

Sterling then recovered after an amendment on handing Parliament a greater say, should the Brexit deal be defeated on 11 December, was approved.

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.

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The Government's amendment to the contempt motion would allow the Committee of Privileges to look at the issue and "consider the national interest arguments for not releasing the legal advice alongside the Government's duty to Parliament", Mrs May's spokesman said.

A small number of Labour rebels could support her, but the party's official position is to vote against the deal.

We've tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject.

That result - which could prevent a "no deal" Brexit - saw the pound rise back to where it started the day, rounding off a rollercoaster day for sterling. See PA story POLITICS Brexit.

The guidance is not binding on the Luxembourg court, which is considering the issue in response to a request from British parliamentarians.

In the most extreme no-deal scenario shopping bills could rise by up to 10%, but even in an orderly no-deal withdrawal, with a transition period, he said grocery prices could rise by 6%. He added: "Theresa May's majority has evaporated, and the credibility of her deal is evaporating with it".

The decision is expected to be made by the end of the year, but judges at the ECJ must first accept jurisdiction over the case.

Soft-liners are against the deal because they believe that it won't secure the closest possible British-EU political and economic ties.

"I'm focusing on ... getting that vote and getting the vote over the line", she said.

  • Sonia Alvarado