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Privilege (Withdrawal Agreement: Legal Advice)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:22 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West 2:22 pm, 4th December 2018

Of course I do. The whole point is that this House is entitled to the full legal advice. The Government are hiding behind this cloak of saying, “Oh, the national interest; oh, negotiations; oh, security.” That has nothing to do with it.

What I am illustrating with these legal arguments is that there are alternative views that need to be fully discussed so that we can take the right decision on the withdrawal agreement in full knowledge of the facts. We have had a doctored version that is politically spun in the interests of the Government getting their objectives through. They are protecting themselves by saying, “Oh, there might be issues of national security, MI5, the public interest, etc.” I have great support, I must say, for the Father of the House’s suggestion that if there were such problems with national security and so on, those parts could be redacted and we could see the full legal advice.

This motion focuses clearly on the legal advice provided by the Attorney General on the EU withdrawal agreement. Implicit in that, in my interpretation, is that we obviously do not need lots of details about MI5, national security, the negotiating position and so on. What we want to know is the legal position in respect of article 50 and of the illegalities during the advisory referendum that made it flawed, thereby undermining the power that the Prime Minister has under the EU (Withdrawal) Act based on the advisory referendum that we now find is flawed. None of this was brought before the House. Why? Either because the Attorney General and his colleagues are incompetent or because they are withholding that information.