Government must publish Brexit legal advice

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The vote comes immediately after MPs voted to find Theresa May's government in contempt of parliament over its failure to publish its legal advice on the Brexit deal.

But the deal has united critics at both ends of the political spectrum: eurosceptics say it will make Britain a vassal state while European Union supporters take a similar line, saying it will have to obey the rules of membership while foregoing the benefits.

She said the Government, which had sought to slow down the process by referring the issue to Parliament's Committee of Privileges, had fulfilled the spirit of the order to publish.

The full legal advice given to ministers is understood to run to several thousand pages.

If May's Brexit plan is voted down, the government would have to come back to Parliament with an alternative plan within 21 days and it could then be changed by MPs - a growing number of whom favour a Norway-style relationship which would include Single Market membership.

The government must now publish the attorney general's legal advice on Brexit in full.

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Left-wing Labour said May's defeat next Tuesday would likely trigger a confidence vote to bring down her government.

Speaking in the Commons after the vote, Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said: "We've tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject".

Twenty-five Conservative MPs rebelled to support Tory former minister Dominic Grieve's amendment created to give Parliament a greater say on Brexit plans if the Government's EU Withdrawal Agreement is rejected next week, according to the division list.

"This house has now spoken and it's of huge constitutional and political signficance", said opposition Labour Party member Keir Starmer.

But May's spokesman told reporters: "It does nothing in any event to change the clear position of the government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked".

If she loses, May could call for a second vote.

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Theresa May said the United Kingdom would enjoy a better future outside the European Union.

It means that instead of the government having to come back to tell MPs what their next steps are - and MPs voting on that - they would theoretically be able to vote on what they wanted the government to do as well.

If lawmakers do not back her deal, May says, they could open the door either to Britain falling out of the European Union without measures to soften the transition or to the possibility that Brexit does not happen.

One of those to back the motion, Oliver Letwin, said he believed the majority opinion of the Commons was that a no-deal exit would be "catastrophic" for the UK.

Just one week before the big vote on the PM's Brexit deal, the margin of victory suggests that May will fail to win a majority for her plans to quit the EU. Clearly, Macron understood what was in the agreement that May signed.

He added: "Unless there is clarity on these questions it is simply not possible for the Government to know how to comply with the motion".

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Hardline Conservative Brexiteers say May's compromise deal does not represent enough of a break with Brussels. Her former Brexit minister David Davis said: "This is not Brexit".

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