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  1. ITV Report

DUP joins opposition parties in contempt call

Brexit rows rumble on at the House of Commons. Credit: PA

The DUP has joined with other opposition parties in writing to the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask him to launch contempt proceedings against the Government.

The cross-party effort comes after the Government’s refusal to publish the full legal advice on Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.

Six political parties say the Attorney General has failed to comply with a resolution by MPs and senior figures from each party have signed the damning letter addressed to John Bercow.

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It reads: “It is apparent to us – and we believe the overwhelming majority of the House – that the information released today does not constitute the final and full advice provided by the Attorney General to the Cabinet.

“It does not comply with a motion of the House that you have ruled to be effective.

“We would now ask that you consider giving the House of Commons the opportunity to debate and consider this matter of contempt at the earliest opportunity.”

Who has signed the letter?

  • Keir Starmer MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union
  • Stephen Gethins MP, SNP Foreign Affairs and Europe spokesperson
  • Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Exiting the European Union
  • Nigel Dodds MP, Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party
  • Hywel Williams MP, Shadow Plaid Cymru Spokesperson on Brexit
  • Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of the Green Party in Parliament

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC appeared in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon to address concerns over the legal advice on the UK's withdrawal agreement with the EU.

In the Commons, he took a swipe at the opposition.

“There is no use of baying and shouting from the members opposite. What am I trying to do is guard the public interest. That's all,” he said.

“And it's time they grew up and got real.”

The Attorney General confirmed that neither the UK nor EU would be able to unilaterally end the Northern Ireland backstop arrangement if it came into force.

It was confirmed the backstop was “expressly agreed not to be intended to establish a permanent relationship but to be temporary”, and that the Article 50 process did not provide a legal basis for a permanent arrangement.

But “if the protocol were to come into force, it would continue to apply in international law unless and until it was superseded by the intended subsequent agreement” which met the goals of avoiding a hard border and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.