U.K. Par­lia­ment de­liv­ers re­buke to govern­ment over Brexit

StarMetro Edmonton - - CANADA & WORLD - Jill Law­less and Raf Casert

LON­DON—Britain’s Par­lia­ment dealt Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s govern­ment two bruis­ing de­feats Tues­day, and that was be­fore law­mak­ers be­gan an epic de­bate that will de­cide the fate of May’s Eu­ro­pean Union di­vorce deal and her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

Open­ing five days of de­bate on the Brexit agree­ment, May said that since the British peo­ple voted in 2016 to leave the EU, it was the “duty of this Par­lia­ment to de­liver on the re­sult” of the ref­er­en­dum.

De­spite her en­treaties, the govern­ment ap­peared to be on a col­li­sion course with an in­creas­ingly as­sertive Par­lia­ment.

Min­utes be­fore May rose to speak, law­mak­ers de­liv­ered a his­toric re­buke, find­ing her Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment in con­tempt of Par­lia­ment for re­fus­ing to pub­lish the ad­vice it had re­ceived from the coun­try’s top law of­fi­cer about the Brexit deal.

The rep­ri­mand, while largely sym­bolic, marks the first time a British govern­ment has been found in con­tempt of Par­lia­ment.

The 311-293 vote demon­strated the fragility of May’s govern­ment, which does not have a ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment. Labour Party Brexit spokesper­son Keir Starmer called the con­tempt find­ing “a badge of shame.”

The govern­ment said that in light of the vote it would pub­lish the ad­vice from At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ge­of­frey Cox.

He and other min­is­ters also could face rep­ri­mands or sus­pen­sion from Par­lia­ment.

In an­other sign of the govern­ment’s weak­ness, law­mak­ers also passed an amend­ment giv­ing Par­lia­ment more say over the govern­ment’s next steps if the assem­bly re­jects the di­vorce deal in a vote set for Dec. 11.

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