3dec weekly news template

UK FACES CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS OVER BREXIT LEGAL ADVICE, LABOUR WARNS

The PM says the advice is confidential. but some MPs think ministers do not want to admit it says the UK could be indefinitely tied to EU customs rules. Ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson has joined calls for its publication, which critics say could sink the PM’s deal. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will make a statement about it on Monday. He is set to publish a reduced version of the legal advice – despite calls from MPs from all parties to publish a full version. Labour is planning to join forces with other parties, including the DUP, who keep Mrs May in power, to initiate contempt of Parliament proceedings unless the government backs down. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News: “If they don’t produce [the advice] tomorrow (Monday) then we will start contempt proceedings. This will be a collision course between the government and Parliament.” – BBC News

MICHAEL GOVE SAYS THE GOVERNMENT CAN WIN NEXT WEEK’S BREXIT VOTE

By some estimates, over a hundred Conservative MPs are preparing to vote against May’s withdrawal agreement in parliament next week, paving the way for a crisis over how the UK proceeds with Brexit. “I believe we can win the argument, and win the vote,” Gove said. Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Gove said: “We should not make the perfect the enemy of the good,” warning that rejecting May’s agreement risked bringing about a no-deal Brexit, or causing the UK to remain in the EU. “If we were to leave without a deal, I think we would undoubtedly go through a period of turbulence,” he said. “While it’s not as a bad as some have argued, it is economically, clearly, going to cause hurt.” – City A.M.

_103138451_6dd149d5LABOUR WILL MOVE A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN THERESA MAY IF SHE LOSES BREXIT VOTE

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit Secretary, said his party will “inevitably” table a no confidence motion if Mrs May’s Brexit deal does not pass through Parliament. He criticised the Prime Minister for “running down the clock” and coming up with a “bad deal”. “People praise her resilience – at the moment I don’t think this is resilience, it’s just ploughing on regardless,” he said. Sir Keir said the Prime Minister has “failed to have got the option of a deal that Parliament can support” and is therefore “pushing” the options of a second vote or a no deal. Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Sir Keir said: “I think the prime minister is going to struggle between now and that vote. If Mrs May loses the key vote, she will have 21 days to consult her Cabinet and make a statement to Parliament setting out what she plans to do next. “We need to see what that is,” he said, adding: “But it seems to me that if the prime minister has lost a vote of that sort of significance, then there has to be a question of confidence in her government. I think it’s inevitable that we will seek to move that.” – Telegraph (£)

THERESA MAY HAS HANDED OVER ‘XMAS LIST’ OF GOODIES TO EU IN BOTCHED BREXIT DEAL, BORIS JOHNSON BLASTS

Boris predicted that if the UK prepares for No Deal, Brussels will take us more seriously and offer improved terms. And he mocked the idea that the EU’s rules are as inflexible as ancient tribes – pointing out that Eurocrats are used to “horse trading and back room compromises”. But in a Twitter storm this evening, the former Foreign Secretary said both sides were bluffing and predicted talks will restart if MPs vote down the PM’s deal in nine days’ time. Boris wrote: “Those who say that it’s impossible to get a better deal from the EU than Theresa May’s deal – that the EU has rules as immutable as those of the Medes and the Persians – have obviously never seen the horse trading and back room compromises that characterise every EU summit. “What is different about this negotiation is one simple fact: the EU believed that despite her ‘No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal’ rhetoric, Theresa May was desperate for a deal at any price. “Once those with whom you are negotiating believe that, then it simply becomes a matter of how long they want to make their Christmas list. “Once the EU realises that they have overplayed their hand & Parliament won’t wear this shameful surrender, they will be faced with a choice: do a proper & equitable deal or split without a deal – a prospect that they don’t relish, not least as they lose all leverage over us.” – The Sun

Boris Johnson - latest newsBORIS JOHNSON: WE NEED TO HOLD OUR NERVE OVER BREXIT – WE CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS DEAL

Yes, of course the public is entitled to see the legal advice from the Attorney General to the Prime Minister. It is a scandal that this is currently being withheld. It is outrageous that the public should be prevented from knowing the full legal implications of this appalling deal – when it is their rights, their freedoms, their hard-won suffrage, that are about to be bartered away.  It is no use the Government claiming that this advice is protected by “client privilege”. But in case the Government continues to brazen it out, let me tell you roughly what that advice says – namely, what every lawyer can see: that this 175-page backstop is a great steel trap that is about to clamp its jaws around our hind limbs and prevent our escape. In the past few days the veterans of Project Fear have been out in force – and when you hear them say that this country will run out of drinking water and Mars Bars, remember that they said we would lose 500,000 jobs just for voting Leave. We have in fact gained 800,000 jobs. I don’t believe it will be necessary, but no deal should hold no terrors for us. I confidently predict that we will still have drinking water and Mars Bars – and we can have our freedom, too. – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

THE TIMES: VIEW ON THE GOVERNMENT’S BREXIT LEGAL ADVICE

The convention that government legal advice should remain confidential is an important one that should not be set aside lightly. Under the principle of attorney/client privilege, all advice give by a lawyer to their client should remain confidential, regardless of whether the client is an individual, a corporation or the government. Moreover, the British constitution operates on the basis of cabinet responsibility. If ministers are to be held accountable for collective decisions, it is vital that all ministers, including the attorney-general, can raise concerns privately. If government legal advice were to be routinely made public, the advice might be less frank and lawyers might be less willing to commit their concerns to paper, to the detriment of quality of cabinet decision-making. Nonetheless, exceptions have been made in the past in exceptional circumstances — and few would deny that the decision facing parliament over Brexit is exceptional. – The Times editorial

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