May makes last-ditch at­tempt to rally MPs after his­toric hu­mil­i­a­tion.

BREXIT: PM be­gins five-day de­bate by suf­fer­ing his­toric hu­mil­i­a­tion as her gov­ern­ment found in con­tempt

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW WOOD­COCK

Theresa May has made a last-ditch at­tempt to rally MPs be­hind her Brexit deal after suf­fer­ing the his­toric hu­mil­i­a­tion of see­ing her gov­ern­ment found in con­tempt of par­lia­ment.

In dra­matic scenes at West­min­ster, the gov­ern­ment bowed to pres­sure to pub­lish the “fi­nal and full” le­gal ad­vice to Cab­i­net on the deal after MPs voted by 311 to 293 that its fail­ure to do so amounted to con­tempt.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Demo­cratic Union­ist Party al­lies – along with Tory MPs Philip Hol­lobone and Peter Bone – joined op­po­si­tion par­ties in the un­prece­dented move.

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.

Min­is­ters are ex­pected to set out to­day how this will be done.

The vote came shortly be­fore Mrs May kicked off a five-day de­bate ahead of the De­cem­ber 11 “mean­ing­ful vote” with a speech last­ing more than an hour in which she told MPs she had de­liv­ered “the very best deal for the Bri­tish peo­ple” and backed it “with my whole heart”.

Be­fore the prime min­is­ter ap­peared at the despatch box, her gov­ern­ment had gone down to de­feat for the third time in an hour.

MPs backed a move that could put par­lia­ment in the driv­ing seat if the Brexit deal is re­jected on De­cem­ber 11 by giv­ing the Com­mons the power to amend a mo­tion that Mrs May would be re­quired to make within the fol­low­ing 21 days to set out the gov­ern­ment’s next steps.

Some 26 Tory MPs – in­clud­ing former min­is­ters Sir Michael Fal­lon, Damian Green and Sir Oliver Letwin – re­belled on the amend­ment tabled by ex-at­tor­ney gen­eral Do­minic Grieve.

This could open the door for the Com­mons to throw its weight be­hind a Nor­way-style soft Brexit or even a sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum, though prom­i­nent Leave-back­ing MPs ques­tioned whether any such vote would be bind­ing on min­is­ters.

Labour’s shadow Brexit sec­re­tary Sir Keir Starmer said the find­ing of con­tempt was “a badge of shame” for the gov­ern­ment, with “huge con­sti­tu­tional and po­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance”.

“By treat­ing par­lia­ment with con­tempt, the gov­ern­ment has proved it has lost its ma­jor­ity and the re­spect of the House,” Sir Keir said.

Lib­eral Demo­crat leader Sir Vince Cable re­peated calls for a sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum, say­ing: “Theresa May’s ma­jor­ity has evap­o­rated and the cred­i­bil­ity of her deal is evap­o­rat­ing with it.”

Asked if Mrs May still felt she could com­mand a ma­jor­ity in the Com­mons for the crunch vote next Tues­day, a Down­ing Street source said: “Ev­ery­body knows the par­lia­men­tary arith­metic.”

By treat­ing par­lia­ment with con­tempt, the gov­ern­ment has proved it has lost its ma­jor­ity and the re­spect of the House. SIR KEIR STARMER, LABOUR SHADOW BREXIT SEC­RE­TARY

Pic­ture: PA.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May speaks in the House of Com­mons as the de­bate be­gins.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.