MPs find Government in contempt of Parliament in historic vote

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionBrexit Can Theresa May win over MPs

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBrexit Can Theresa May win over MPs

The humiliating division came shortly before Prime Minister Theresa May was due to open a five-day debate on her deal, amid widespread expectations that her proposals are set for rejection by MPs.

Senior MPs from six parties wrote to Mr Bercow asking him to begin contempt proceedings against the Government after full publication of the attorney general's findings was withheld "in the public interest".

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Tuesday's vote had "huge constitutional and political significance" and it was "unprecedented" for ministers to have been found in contempt. Honourable friend the Prime Minister presented to me that if the motion were tone made amendable- the motion to be considered thereafter - it would in some way interfere with her ability to negotiate.

Opposition parties and the small Northern Irish party that props up Ms May's minority Government are furious that it only provided an outline of the legal basis for its Brexit deal after Parliament voted to be given the full advice.

There is no requirement for the government to share legal advice on new policies, nor is there precedent for legal advice to be routinely published.

It's an embarrassing defeat for Theresa May's government, who now face five days of Brexit debate, before the crunch vote on the deal agreed with the European Union on December 11.

"Which is why having reflected on her view I took the decision to vote against my own amendment when it was presented to this House because I listened to what she had to say to me".

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Tory MP Lee Rowley explains why he will be voting against Theresa May's withdrawal deal
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Tory MP Lee Rowley explains why he will be voting against Theresa May's withdrawal deal

In reality, the vote was about putting pressure on a weakened Government.

It lost that vote by 311 votes to 307.

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.

The opposition Labour Party, which pushed for the vote, was jubilant.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox earlier published an overview of his legal advice on Theresa May's Brexit deal and answered MPs questions on it.

MPs will debate and vote on whether or not to refer the case to the Standards Committee on Tuesday.

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