Government's full Brexit legal advice doesn't look good for Theresa May

"What we need is a compromise deal, that's what the Prime Minister has proposed and I would urge my colleagues to think about, first of all, why people voted to leave the European Union, what their interpretation is of that; and secondly, what the alternatives are".

There is also nearly a consensus in Brussels that the withdrawal agreement, containing the most contentious part of the deal, the so-called backstop for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland through keeping the United Kingdom in a customs union indefinitely, can not be touched.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said there had been an "arguable case that a contempt has been committed" and ruled MPs should debate the issue on Tuesday. The government will brief organisations involved in borders on the latest No Deal planning on Friday afternoon.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox had published an overview on Monday but Opposition parties say that by limiting the information released, ministers ignored a binding Commons vote demanding they release the full advice.

"It can bring a motion of contempt and seek to have that motion passed and seek to impose through the committee, or whichever way it is appropriately done, to impose a sanction. If it meant holding things a bit longer to do it, of course", he said.

In a joint foreword, Labour former foreign secretary David Miliband and Tory ex-minister Jo Johnson - who quit his Government role in November over Brexit - said: 'Norway-plus would represent a long-term commitment to pay to benefit from the European Union's regulatory structures while choosing to be outside it'. However, they have refused to do so.

"We have therefore been left with no option but to write to the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask him to launch proceedings of contempt".

"But, what we went into the negotiation with in the end was a text that delivered the termination clause very much as it is laid out there". The vote is expected to lead to the possibility of a No-Deal Brexit, as plenty of MPs have indicated that they could vote against the PM's agreement with Brussels.

It's crunch time for the British government and the future of Brexit.

The Labour Party needs to be in favour of that, which is still ambiguous.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland told BBC's Newsnight it was a "complete diversion" and a "concocted parliamentary parlour game that should be stopped".

The leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg had earlier described May's deal as a "rotten deal".

The issue risks overshadowing Mrs May's effort to win over MPs ahead of the showdown in a week's time.

Andrea Leadsom has said Theresa May is the right person to be prime minister - "at the moment".

Opening the debate on the Brexit deal, Mrs May said: "I know there are some in this House and in the country who would prefer a closer relationship with the European Union than the one I'm proposing, indeed who would prefer the relationship that we now have and want another referendum".

Other MPs are pushing for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area (EEA), which would protect the economy but would not fulfil the referendum promise of ending free movement of workers from the EU. In a referendum in June 2016 51,9% of British people supported Brexit.

While May recognized the criticisms of the current deal, she argued against scrapping it.

The implication is that Labour's proposal would remove the need for the Irish backstop trade arrangements (which are created to avoid a hard border as a position of last resort).

"If Mrs May's deal does not pass, we would not be seeking a second referendum", Mr Picardo said.

"The backstop is talked about as if it's automatic". Overwhelmingly, the message I've heard is that people want us to get on with it.

"That is why I support a People's Vote".

Vanessa Coleman

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