"The government knew very well what was being asked for, the Attorney General must have known what was being debated and voted on. Yet, it appears he wasn't asked before that vote for his views on the wisdom of not voting against the order, nor did he offer any advice directly or indirectly."
Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom responded to Starmer, defending the Attorney General, noting the contempt of parliamentary procedure was "arcane," and appealing to MPs to continue the debate away from the "heat" of the Brexit debate.
Tories trying every trick in the book today in Parliament on the contempt of parliament motion. After yesterday's performance from the attorney general doing his "Rumpole of the Bailey" impersonation we have the bluff&bluster from the leader of the house today, shameful stuff! 👎— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) December 4, 2018
British PM Theresa May is set to open five days of Brexit debate in the House of Commons. Prior to the debate, ministers faced a contempt-of-Parliament challenge over their decision not to release the full legal advice on her Brexit deal.
MPs are now debating a privilege motion which states that "this House finds Ministers in contempt…" in the Government's failure to publish the legal advice on the #EUWithdrawalAgreement.— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) December 4, 2018
Labour MP Anna Turley said she was in the House, "quietly and ruthlessly destroying the government for their contempt of parliament."
Another opposition MP, Hugh Gaffney, criticized the government for disregarding the "will of our sovereign national Parliament."
"And it is a disgrace," he said. "I will be voting for Keir Starmer's motion and against Tory amendment."
No. They have stuck two fingers to the clear will of our sovereign national Parliament. And it is a disgrace. I will be voting for @Keir_Starmer motion and against Tory amendment. #TakeBackControl https://t.co/4MLzVUUaw7— Hugh Gaffney MP (@HughGaffneyMP) December 4, 2018
A cross-party motion was filed by group of MPs, which launched the legal proceedings of contempt over ministers providing only an outline of the legal basis for the government's Brexit deal after parliament voted last month to force it to make public the full advice.
The Government has refused to listen.— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) December 3, 2018
We have now written to the Speaker to ask him to launch proceedings of contempt.
Parliament can not be ignored. pic.twitter.com/ZK87w7hYxZ
IMPORTANT: Today we’re joining forces with all the other parties to prove that the Tories are in contempt of Parliament.— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) December 4, 2018
But what does that mean?
Take a look and share the news 👇 pic.twitter.com/BxZPpsodls
The official definition of the contempt of parliament reads: "Any act, or failure to act, that may prevent or hinder the work of either House of Parliament."
Giving false evidence through a parliamentary committee or threatening an MP. Anyone found guilty could be suspended or permanently excluded from the House of Commons. If the motion was passed, it would be the first time in modern history that government ministers are guilty of contempt.
Last expulsion was the Labour MP Garry Allighan in 1947, who was expelled for contempt after writing a news article that wrongly claimed other MPs took bribes in exchange for information.