Fresh Brexit revolt over legal advice demands
A “historic constitutional row” over Brexit awaits Theresa May on her return from the G20 summit.
Labour and opposition parties are threatening to launch proceedings for contempt of Parliament unless legal advice given by the attorney general to the prime minister on her Brexit plan is published in full.
The DUP, which props up the government, is reportedly ready to sign a joint letter with them to the speaker of the House of Commons unless ministers back down.
The Commons vote on the withdrawal deal is in nine days’ time.
More than 100 of her own MPs have indicated to reporters they will vote against it, as a brutally timed ministerial resignation means the certainty of the deal passing is not strong.
Mrs May faces further headaches from Scotland’s parliament, Holyrood.
MSPs look set to declare in a debate that it would be “damaging for Scotland and the nations and regions of the UK” if her Brexit deal is waved through.
All parties, apart from the Conservatives, have united to put the joint motion forward for the debate at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.
If Holyrood votes against the draft, it will not stop the deal – only become Scotland’s formal position on the matter.
It comes as Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham, will tell Sophy Ridge this morning that he intends to vote for Mrs May’s deal, but he thinks she should step down to allow before the next election.
“Of course there are flaws, there are things about it that I don’t much like, but I certainly think that [this deal] is better than no deal. We do need to leave the EU in my view, so I will be voting for it,” he will say.
“I would hope that she would see mission completed on 29 March as the time to start thinking about when it is that she wants to hand over to a successor,” he will add.
Mr Boles has spoken with to up to eight cabinet members about his own Plan B suggestion he believes Mrs May should consider, despite having to accept the free movement of people.
He will say: “What I’m suggesting is we should move into a position a bit like Norway where we’re in the common market that binds Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein with the EU – it’s called the European Economic Area.
“And we join something called the European Free Trade Association and we go into a temporary customs union with the EU until we find new arrangements that satisfy the border requirements to the satisfaction of the Republic of Ireland and the EU.”
Mr Boles says the UK would then be “in the single market, in a temporary customs union, but we’d be outside lots of things that we don’t like about the EU.”
:: Watch Nick Boles MP, chairman of Conservative Party Brandon Lewis and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer MP on Sophy Ridge on Sunday at 9am on Sky News