Labour warns of contempt action

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Commons Speaker John Bercow has told MPs he believes there is an "arguable case that a contempt has been committed" by the Government over Brexit legal advice.

Earlier after Labour's Harriet Harman raised concerns about the Government's approach, Mr Cox said he was "caught in an acute clash of constitutional principle" and explained a minister was obliged to consider the public and national interest.

On Tuesday, a five-day debate on her Brexit deal will get underway prior to the meaningful vote next week.

On Monday the government published a 43-page document outlining Cox's legal opinion, but the opposition Labour Party is demanding the attorney general's full, original advice.

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.

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"I will be talking with Members of Parliament ... and explaining why passing this deal in the vote that will take place in the House of Commons will take us to certainty for the future, and that failure to do that would only lead to uncertainty".

She said the next nine days were an important time for the country, ahead of a December 11 vote in parliament on her deal.

The prime minister will on Monday make another speech to MPs in an attempt to sell her deal.

In this scenario, May would be without the thin parliamentary advantage she's had since the 2017 general election and at risk of a majority of MPs voting to get rid of her. "It is no longer a matter for the Government to judge, it has been decided by this House, which is a higher authority". It does not comply with a motion of the House that you have ruled to be effective. Conservative MPs were told to abstain after it became clear that the government was not certain of winning the vote when the DUP said it would vote with Labour.

"I had to take time to think about it".

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The DUP loathes the Withdrawal Agreement because under the backstop proposal for avoiding a hard Irish border, Northern Ireland would stick to parts of the single market, creating new border checks with rest of the UK.

At that point, she could face a no confidence vote in the Commons and a confidence vote from her own MPs.

The threat of contempt proceedings is another hurdle for May to clear before parliament votes on December 11 on her deal for Britain's exit from the European Union, its biggest shift in foreign and trade policy for more than 40 years. "Ministers should be aware that they are treading on very thin ice".

May also received support from Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a key Brexit-backing minister, who wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper that lawmakers should back the deal rather than hold out for a "perfect plan".

◙ 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.

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Gyimah quit the government last week over the terms of May's brokered withdrawal agreement with the EU.