Labour vows showdown with Theresa May over any updated Brexit legal advice

Posted On: 
9th January 2019

Labour will join forces with rebel Tory MPs in a bid to force the Government to publish any updated legal advice on its Brexit deal, it has been reported.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer is determined to reveal any new advice
Credit: 
PA Images

The opposition will demand proof that any fresh concessions Theresa May wins from the EU on her controversial agreement have legal weight in the eyes of ministers, according to HuffPost UK.

Mrs May has asked Brussels for written “guarantees” to allay concerns about the Northern Ireland backstop plan to keep the Irish border open if a Brexit trade deal is not reached.

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MPs are on course to vote down her Brexit deal next Tuesday over fears that the backstop as it stands could leave the UK tied to EU rules indefinitely and possibly trigger the break-up of the Union.

An exchange of letters between the Government and the remaining 27 EU member states outlining the hoped-for guarantees is expected to be published in the coming days.

But Labour, the DUP and Tory rebels are eager to repeat their victory over the Government at the end of last year when ministers were forced to publish their secret legal advice on the deal.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer told HuffPost UK: “Last year, the Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to publish the legal advice on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. We should not have go through that process all over again.

“Parliament must be kept informed of the full legal implications of any deal the Prime Minister strikes with the EU.”

A Labour source told the site: “Either there is no new legal advice, in which case the PM has failed to come up with the legal assurances she promised. Or there is new legal advice and they are hiding it.”

The European Research Group of Tory MPs is said to be willing to back a bid to force publication of any fresh advice.

A five-day debate on the deal will resume today after Mrs May was forced to pull the crunch vote last month in the face of certain defeat.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is set to open the final day of the debate in a bid to give the arguments legal clout, while Mrs May herself will close it.