Yesterday, for the first time in history, the government was found to be in contempt of Parliament. Parliament had requested that the government publish the legal advice it had received from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on the Withdrawal Agreement. Today, it seemed to concede the point and published a letter which only pertains to Northern Ireland and the Irish backstop.
During Prime Ministers Questions, Bill Cash, Tory Brexiteer stalwart, raised the question of where the rest of the advice was:
The motion passed yesterday required AG’s advice on Withdrawal Agreement but the gov has only released advice on Northern Ireland. Given that Law Officers ought to have been consulted regarding the whole Withdrawal Agreement, (Ministerial code) where is the rest of the advice? pic.twitter.com/VMtqLbuGBO
— Bill Cash (@BillCashMP) 5 December 2018
The Prime Ministers chracteristically evasive reply begs the question of what the actual answer could be. There can be no question about the fact that Cash is right, the document itself states “this note sets out my advice on the question I have been asked as follows: What is the legal effect of the UK agreeing to the Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement on Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
It then goes onto outline how the UK would be effectively partitioned and eternally trapped in a Customs Union if the backstop is ever entered, all of which was unsurprisingly too much for the DUP whose Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds used PMQ’s to tear into the government:
The events of recent days have exposed the Government.
How can they possibly recommend such a bad deal to Parliament and the people of the United Kingdom? pic.twitter.com/Rxa9g4Uvi7
— Nigel Dodds (@NigelDoddsDUP) 5 December 2018
However, as if this wasn’t bad enough, stop, pause and wonder what horrors were left unpublished….