House of Commons leader rejects claims government is in contempt of Parliament


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The House of Commons leader has rejected claims that the government acted in contempt of Parliament by refusing to publish legal advice on the Brexit deal.

Addressing the Commons, Andrea Leadsom said there was "no question" that the government and Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, had acted in a way that was "contemptuous".

"The use of this motion has happened very rarely in the history of Parliament and I don't think any member of this House can be in any doubt that the information that the Attorney General provided yesterday was a very frank assessment of the legal position," she said.



"No honourable member could say in all honesty that the Attorney General has done anything other than treat this House with the greatest of respect, there can be no question that he or the government has acted in a manner which is contemptuous of this House."

MPs and members of the public can be held in contempt of Parliament, which refers to any behaviour which hinders the work of Parliament, such as trying to bribe an MP and refusing to appear before a Parliamentary committee.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was accused of trying to "hide behind convention" in a bid to prevent the publication of the full, unedited legal advice on the Brexit deal.

Shadow Attorney General, Nick Thomas-Symonds, claimed the government was seeking to avoid the publication of legal advice for "fear of the political consequences".