The debate is due to last eight hours each day and to start mid-afternoon. MPs will vote in the next evening. The negotiated deal by the UK and the EU has to be supported by a majority of MPs if it is to come into public. But ahead of the argument, ministers confront a contempt-of-Parliament challenge over their resolution not to disclose the full legal advice on the Brexit deal.
Opposition parties claim that by controlling the information reported, ministers avoided a binding Commons vote claiming they disclose the full advice.
Secretary of Brexit, Labour’s shadow, Sir Keir Starmer said: “It’s about parliamentary democracy and guaranteeing that MPs have the information they need to know – precisely what the government has negotiated with the European Union”.
Sir Keir signed a movement demanding urgent publication of the full and final advice, along with senior MPs from the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, the Democratic Unionist Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.
Commons representative John Bercow said there was an “arguable case” that a scorn of Parliament had been committed.
However, the government then finalised a change to have the issue referred to MPs on the Privileges Committee to inspect either its reply fulfils all its commitments, taking into account any past relevant cases.
The political correspondent of BBC Lain Watson said any defeat over the lawful advice would be likely to come as “an unwelcome distraction rather than a disaster ” for the Prime Minister.
He said, “ While ultimately a parliamentary committee could decide to reprimand or suspend ministers, it’s highly likely no sanction would be applied before next week’s crucial vote on the Brexit deal”.