Monday 12 November 2018 / 4:00 PM Brexit / Keir Starmer

Labour to force bindings Commons vote on publication of backstop legal advice

Labour will tomorrow [‪Tuesday 13 November] force a binding vote in the House of Commons demanding that the Government’s legal advice on the withdrawal agreement – including the Irish backstop – is published once any Brexit deal is ready to be put to Parliament.

The motion will use the same ancient, but effective, Parliamentary procedure that Labour used last year to successfully force the Government to release the Brexit impact assessments.

This procedure gives the House of Commons the power to require Ministers to release Government papers to Parliament. Unlike typical opposition day debates, the motion, if passed, will be binding on the Government.

The intervention comes as the Cabinet remains in deadlock over the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, particularly over the Northern Ireland backstop proposal.

Labour will demand that MPs are able to scrutinise the Attorney General’s legal advice on the withdrawal agreement, including any Irish backstop proposal, so they can understand precisely what has been agreed and what its implications are for the future.

The DUP and some Tory MPs have also called for the legal advice to be published.

Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, said:

“It’s simply untenable for the Government to put forward any Brexit deal to Parliament without providing the legal advice on what’s been agreed.

“At this critical stage, MPs can’t be kept in the dark nor can we risk Parliament being bounced into a decision without having all of the facts available.

“Ministers should accept this motion and allow MPs to have an informed debate about the UK’s future relationship with the EU after Brexit.”