Brexit: Ministers may have broken rules by not publishing legal advice - Speaker

Theresa May and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe shake hands prior to a bilateral meeting at the G20 Leader's Summit in Buenos Aires

Ministers have consistently argued that Mr Cox's advice is privileged in the same way as any given by a lawyer to a client, claiming that the Government will not be able function if it can not enjoy such confidentiality.

He pointed out that "all parties" would press for contempt of Parliament proceedings if MPs are not shown the advice, the legal opinion of British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

On Monday, politicians on all sides will ratchet up the pressure on May to justify the terms she's agreed to with the European Union by demanding she publish the government's internal legal advice underpinning the accord.

Speaking on Monday, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay claimed the United Kingdom will move into "significant uncertainty" if Mrs May's Brexit deal is voted down, during a meeting of the Exiting the European Union Committee.

Gyimah said Britain's exclusion from the EU's Galileo programme because of Brexit was a "clarion call", saying it was "only a foretaste of what's to come" in negotiating a future relationship with the bloc.

Dominic Raab, who quit as Brexit secretary last month in protest against May's deal, told the Sunday Times: "The legal position is clear". And we can leave this ridiculous backstop when we decide, not when Europe decides. "That's my view as a former global lawyer, but it is consistent if not identical with all the formal advice I received".

There are significant structural barriers to a second vote, according to analysts.

Labour said the Government was seeking to avoid the publication for "fear of the political consequences" while Nigel Dodds, the DUP's Westminster leader, denounced the Irish border backstop plan as "deeply unattractive" and urged the Government to release the full legal advice, telling Mr Cox to recommend that the deal was rejected.

More news: Katarpur corridor: A road to peace between India and Pakistan?

May met early on Saturday with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan's Shinzo Abe at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Cox, who is the most senior legal officer in the Cabinet and Government, now faces the humiliation of being subjected to a contempt hearing by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee.

Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge this morning, Starmer said May was in "really deep water".

"We shouldn't dismiss out of hand the idea of asking the people again what future they want, as we all now have a better understanding of the potential paths before us", Gyimah wrote.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph today, Starmer said: "MPs must have access to the fullest possible information about what they are voting on".

Punishments for contempt of parliament are rare but not unheard of. Such advice is usually kept confidential.

◙ A YouGov poll released today by the People's Vote campaign, which is calling for a fresh referendum on the terms of Britain's exit from the European Union, found support for remaining in the bloc stood at 55 per cent - the highest result found by the polling group since the original vote in 2016.

Ex-Universities and Science Minister Sam Gyimah likens the agreement to a soccer match where the opposing team is the both referee and rule-maker.

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