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Theresa May suffers multiple Brexit defeats as she starts parliament debate

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Dec 4, 2018.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Dec 4, 2018.   -   Copyright  Reuters
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British Prime Minister Theresa May has faced multiple setbacks in the House of Commons over her Brexit plans.

On the first day of her five-day debate in the House, British MPs found ministers in contempt of parliament for not fully revealing the legal advice received over Brexit.

The motion won with 311 votes to 293.

Opposition parties said Downing Street limited the amount of information it released about the legal advice received over May's Brexit deal. Now, ministers have been forced to publish the advice in full.

MPs on Tuesday also backed calls for the Commons to have a direct say in what happens if May's Brexit deal is rejected in a key vote by the House on December 11.

If the deal, which May agreed with the EU is voted down, the government will have 21 days to return to the Commons and set out what it plans to do next.

Tuesday's talks are just the beginning of a five-day debate on May's Brexit agreement, which she is trying to sell to sceptical MPs. The Prime Minister said Brexit divisions were "corrosive" and divisions would be worsened if the government held a new Brexit referendum.

Opposition MPs responded to the news of the legal debacle on Twitter.

Labour MP, Marsha de Cordova, tweeted "This is HUGE. In an unprecedented move, MPs have passed a motion saying that the Government has acted in contempt of Parliament. How much longer can the Conservatives cling on to power?."

Shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, has called for the Brexit legal advice to be published by next Tuesday.

House of Commons leader, Andrea Leadsom, said that the government will act on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party said the Prime Minister needed to get a better deal or step aside and let them take over.

“We still don’t know what our long term relationship with Europe would look like and that’s why so many MPs across parliament are not willing to vote for this blindfold Brexit and take a leap in the dark about Britain’s future,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told parliament.

But there could be another way out for Pro-European MPs.

On Tuesday, The formal advice from a European Court of Justice advocate general suggested that lawmakers could revoke Article 50, the EU treaty that starts a member's state's withdrawal.

However, May's spokesman said the announcement “does nothing in any event to change the clear position of the government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked”.

Further pressure was loaded onto to the Prime Minister after the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney denied accusations on Tuesday of sparking economic woes when he said last week that, under a No-deal scenario, Britain could suffer greater damage to its economy than during 2008's financial crisis.