MPs Will 'Live To Regret' Contempt Of Parliament Vote, Says Andrea Leadsom

Isabel Togoh

Andrea Leadsom has warned that MPs will “live to regret” Tuesday’s historic vote to hold the Government in contempt of parliament, adding that legal advice on the Brexit deal will be published this morning.

The House of Commons leader told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that parliamentarians hoping to enter government one day had made a mistake, as she described the vote as “incredibly disappointing”.

It comes as the Commons voted 311 votes to 293 to find ministers guilty of “contempt of parliament” for refusing to reveal the confidential advice, just a week before a meaningful vote on the prime Minister’s deal.

“It was incredibly disappointing that the House of Commons decided to vote in effect to overturn what has been decades, if not centuries, of conventions whereby the law officer’s advice to Cabinet and to ministers are not even acknowledged, let alone published,” Leadsom said.

She added: “The Attorney General had come to the House for two-and-a-half hours, which is also unprecedented in these many years, to answer questions to give his very best legal advice.

“He published a 48-page document that outlined all of the legal impact of the Withdrawal Agreement, so the vote yesterday of the House to require the specific legal advice to Cabinet we will comply with, but not without some regret.”

She also suggested that the relationship between the government and law officers could change as a result of the vote, with ministers thinking twice about what they ask for advice on, and law officers becoming wary of giving out information which might be seen “on the front pages of the newspapers”.

“And frankly I think any parliamentarian who wants at some point in the future to be in Government is going to live to regret their vote last night,” she added.

The “arch-Brexiteer” told the programme that she was staying in Government to make “absolutely sure” that Britain does not end up in the backstop, as she urged colleagues to look carefully at the deal and “give it a real chance”.

Leadsom also warned that ‘no deal’ could not be stopped by parliament in the event that the Brexit deal does not go through.