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This is Theresa May’s response to Parliament and the Queen. Charming.

Theresa May’s government has refused to publish the legal advice that supports the Brexit deal she has agreed with the EU – spitting* on the will of Parliament and – it could be argued – the Queen.

Labour has argued that MPs need full details of the legal advice provided to Mrs May by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox if they are to make an informed decision on her Brexit agreement with the European Union.

MPs supported this view on November 13, when a ‘humble address’ to this effect was approved. This is a message to the Queen, requesting that she order the government to carry out a particular action – in this case, publishing the legal advice requested by the Labour Party.

Conservative MPs were told to abstain on the motion after it became clear that the DUP, which props up Mrs May’s minority government, would support it – and members of the Tory Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG) had decided to abstain in order to ensure that it would pass.

Faced with certain and embarrassing defeat, Tory whips opted to allow the motion to pass uncontested.

The date set for publication of the full advice was Novembe 27.

But as the deadline approached, Mrs May’s de facto second-in-command, David Lidington, said the government had decided to ignore Parliamentary democracy and publish only “a full, reasoned position statement laying out the government’s both political and also legal position on the proposed withdrawal agreement”.

Damn straight.

It could be argued that Mr Lidington is only honouring what he promised after the motion was passed – but this is not acceptable to Parliament.

The words of the motion demanded that the government provide “any legal advice in full” – and that is what the government must do. The decision is binding.

Evolve Politics has suggested that there are “damning” documents about the Northern Ireland “backstop”:

Note the last sentence in Alex Wickham’s tweet, above – that Geoffrey Cox’s political judgement was that “a deal is better than no deal”.

It seems he may have been mistaken in that – if the deal in question is Mrs May’s deal:

But then, it seems Mr Cox may have been less than sure about any aspect of the deal:

Let us be clear: If the legal advice received by the government fully supported Mrs May’s deal, her government would have published it happily.

We must therefore assume that it does not.

We also know that the MPs are duty-bound to pass a “meaningful” vote on that deal on December 11 – a duty that they cannot fulfil without full access to all the facts they need.

Mrs May agreed to that “meaningful” vote – but it seems clear she has no intention of allowing the vote on December 11 to be “meaningful” in the sense required by Parliament.

Her decisions show contempt for the Queen, Parliament and democracy. 

*I cleaned this up. Stronger language is required.

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