British government found in contempt of parliament over Brexit legal advice

The government will now publish the full legal advice following the rebuke by MPs

British government found in contempt of parliament over Brexit legal advice

Picture by: Harriet Line/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 21:50

British MPs have found that ministers were in contempt of parliament by not publishing legal advice about Brexit.

Theresa May's government was defeated by 18 votes - with 311 MPs backing the motion.

After the vote, Conservative leader in the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom announced that the government will publish the full legal advice tomorrow.

In another bruising vote for the British leader, MPs also approved an amendment which aims to give them more powers if Mrs May's EU withdrawal agreement is rejected next week 

The contempt issue arose over the British government only releasing a summary of the legal advice, rather than the entire document.

The British government argued it was not in the public interest to publish the advice in full.

Labour, however, had argued they had 'no choice' but to push ahead with the contempt vote as the 'full and final' advice had not been released.

An attempt to the delay the vote and move the issue to a committee was rejected by four votes this evening, before an even larger majority of MPs voted to back the main contempt motion.

A number of opposition MPs described the decision as 'unprecedented':

The vote means the British government now has to publish the full legal advice.

It also marks an extraordinary rebuke by politicians in Westminster as Theresa May continues her efforts to shore up support for the Brexit deal.

The vote came shortly before MPs began five days of debate on the Brexit withdrawal agreement ahead of the crucial vote next week.

The British Prime Minister urged members in the House of Commons to back her divisive plan.

She argued: "This argument has gone on long enough enough - it is corrosive to our politics, and life depends on compromise."