MPs vote for Dominic Grieve's Brexit amendment

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

"That this House finds ministers in contempt for their failure to comply with the requirements of the motion for return passed on 13 November 2018, to publish the final and full legal advice provided by the attorney general to the cabinet concerning the European Union withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship, and orders its immediate publication".

It is the first time in modern history that any Government has been found in contempt and means the highly sensitive advice provided by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will be published, in contravention of long-standing practice.

In a landmark vote on Tuesday, parliamentarians in the lower chamber House of Commons backed a motion, tabled a day before by six parties, demanding full disclosure of the counsel by 311 votes to 293.

Why was her government found in contempt?

MPs were handed the chance to seize control of the Brexit process should Parliament vote down Theresa May's withdrawal deal next week.

As she sought the backing of the Commons for her Brexit deal, the prime minister said the United Kingdom would enjoy a "better future" outside the European Union.

The vote has little direct impact on the Brexit debate, but reflects mounting tension between the government and Parliament over the next steps in the U.K.'s exit.

The amendment will have to be considered before Theresa May can open five days of historic debate on her painstakingly-negotiated Brexit deal.

"As MPs begin to debate Theresa May's awful deal, many will be reflecting on how it compares with the deal we've now got".

We did it! Demonstrators celebrate as a suspension of fuel tax hikes is announced
We did it! Demonstrators celebrate as a suspension of fuel tax hikes is announced

The Labour Party and others, including the DUP, said that the vote is so important for the future of the country that lawmakers should be able to see any detailed legal warnings concerning parts of the withdrawal agreement.

But the debate was delayed as MPs voted on the contempt motion.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered three Brexit defeats in the Commons as she set out to sell her European Union deal to sceptical MPs.

The advice from the ECJ advocate general - not binding but usually heeded by the court - suggested to some lawmakers that revoking Britain's "Article 50" divorce notice was an option.

"The fact is, during the course of this administration we have won the overwhelming majority of votes that have taken place on the floor of the House of Commons". A small number of Labour rebels could support her, but the party's official position is to vote against the deal.

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.

She also said Parliament would be consulted on the government's negotiating mandate as it embarks on talks on the UK's future relationship with the EU.

The Conservative leader was set to tell MPs in a speech later on Tuesday that the deal "delivers for the British people".

Hardline Conservative Brexiteers say May's compromise deal does not represent enough of a break with Brussels.

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