Pressure grows on May to publish Brexit legal advice

Leading Brexiter Liam Fox urges support for May’s deal | Financial Times

Leading Brexiter Liam Fox urges support for May’s deal | Financial Times

He argued that it would not be "in the national interest" to publish his advice in full as it would break a longstanding convention that law officers' advice to ministers is confidential.

Although the contempt offence is hundreds of years old, only a handful of MPs have been suspended and no Cabinet minister has ever faced the charge.

If the motion is approved, a cross-party committee of parliamentarians would be tasked with investigating the alleged contempt and considering whether to recommend a punishment.

"Also, I would like to once again ask for your support to avoid no deal as well as to ensure transparency, predictability as well as legal stability in the Brexit process", he added, speaking through a translator.

He sparked uproar when he said of his private advice "there is nothing to see here!"

In the Commons chamber, Mr Cox told MPs to stop "braying" for the full legal advice be published, and said: "There is nothing to see here!"

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"If the full advice is not forthcoming", Starmer wrote, "we will have no alternative but to start proceedings for contempt of parliament - and we will work with other parties to take this forward..."

Asked by Labour's Chris Williamson if he was personally "prepared to be expelled" from the Commons if found guilty, Cox said he was "truly sorry" if MPs felt he was obstructing their wishes.

He said: "I will sit there through most of it and I am hoping to speak on Thursday".

"This is, after all, not a general election and the Government or the opposition can not be allowed to play fast and loose with representative democracy", they said.

"The House has at its disposal the means by which to enforce its will.It can seek to impose a sanction, I fully accept that".

"In this case I am convinced that in order to disclose any advice that might have been given would be fundamentally contrary to the interests of this country", Mr Cox said. What he has produced is a legal commentary not legal advice.

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"It's time for all of us to put our personal ideal plan to one side, recognise the reality of the choice we face, and start to bring the country back together again", he wrote in the Daily Mail.

We are writing to request that you consider giving precedence to a motion being placed before the House of Commons that the Government has held Parliament in contempt.

The developments come after UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox warned that Britain may be tied to the EU customs union "indefinitely" through the Northern Ireland "backstop" following the country's withdrawal from the bloc. This must be made available to all MPs.

"That this deal sets a path for the United Kingdom to a brighter future has been affirmed by the discussions I have had on trade over the past two days", she said. "It is not just an expression of the opinion of the House; it is an expression of the will of the House that certain documents should be provided to it".

She said at a news conference that "passing this deal ... will take us to certainty for the future, and that failure to do that would only lead to uncertainty".

Instead the Government published a 43-page "full, legal position statement" but this appeared to contain very little not already in the public domain.

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