Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Life&Culture | By Mildred Hamilton

May insists she'll still have her job after Brexit vote next week

May insists she'll still have her job after Brexit vote next week

British Prime Minister Theresa May has brushed aside questions about whether she will resign if her Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament, saying she's confident she'll still have a job after the crucial vote.

Mr Cox, who is the Government's chief legal adviser, had staunchly defended the decision - telling MPs "there is nothing to see here".

"The House has at its disposal the means by which to enforce its will", he acknowledged.

Lawmakers can send the issue to a committee with the power to sanction ministers. I fully accept that.

"What I am trying to do is guard the public interest, that's all, and it is time they grew up and got real!"

Opposition parties demanded the attorney general's full, original advice, claiming the government would be in contempt of Parliament if it did not comply. However, they have refused to do so.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow agreed late Monday there was an "arguable case" that contempt had been committed.

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The Conservative leader will open the first of 5 days of debate on Tuesday, insisting her deal is the only option for a smooth Brexit in March.

"The Government must not be allowed to use this chaotic situation to take focus away from the mess they are making of Brexit".

A motion tabled by Labour, the SNP, other opposition parties and the DUP which argued ministers were in contempt due to their failure to fully publish advice given to Cabinet by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was approved by 311 votes to 293, for a majority 18.

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

Speaking in the Commons after the vote, Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said: "We've tested the opinion of the House twice on this very serious subject".

This will put May in a hard position as she attempts to lobby Conservative Party votes for her bill, while potentially having to reveal compromises over the so-called Northern Ireland "backstop" position which could doom it in the eyes of pro-Brexit MPs.

Mrs May will say that to respect the 2016 referendum result would require "a Brexit that takes back control of our borders, laws and money" and "a Brexit that sets ourselves on course for a better future outside the European Union, as a globally trading nation, in charge of our own destiny and seizing the opportunities of trade with some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic economies across the world".

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It will also ultimately result in "a new free trade area with no tariffs, fees, quantitative restrictions or rules of origin checks - an unprecedented economic relationship that no other major economy has".

The fate of those will determine if her Brexit deal succeeds, whether the United Kingdom could be headed for no deal, a second referendum, or even a general election.

"This is the deal that delivers for the British people", May will tell MPs, according to extracts from her speech released by Downing Street.

The backstop is created to prevent a hard border between European Union member the Republic of Ireland, and Brexiting Northern Ireland - which many fear could lead to a return to violence in the region.

The main thrust of Cox's advice is already known - the government released a 43-page document on it Monday in a bid to fend off the contempt motion.

"I make no bones about it - I would have preferred to have seen a unilateral right of termination in this backstop", he told MPs.

Despite dozens of Tory MPs lining up to oppose the agreement, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he believed the Government could still win, although he acknowledged it would be challenging.

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In his resignation letter, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said "no democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide to exit the arrangement".

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