This is seismic in its potential ramifications.
BBC- Full Legal Advice To Be Published
In summary, ministers have been found in contempt of Parliament after refusing to comply with a lawfully binding vote taken in November that instructed the Government to release full details of the Attorney General's legal advice on Brexit.
However, yesterday it was claimed that releasing the full advice was "Not in the national interest" but that does not overrule a vote taken in Parliament. The vote taken in the house this afternoon has found the government in contempt.
Not in the national interest to tell the elected representatives of the people the legal ramifications for the country, of a course of action that barely more than half the people voted for...?
What have the government got to hide..?
The Leader Of The House, Andrea Leadsome, has now informed the House that the full report will be released tomorrow. What else comes from this is anybody's guess. It's unprecedented in British politics that a government could be in contempt of the House.
It gets worse for the government.
They have also lost two other votes this afternoon and as a result, Parliament has acquired new powers. In certain circumstances, MP's may now be able order the government to call a second referendum on Brexit. Until now, only the Prime Minister and the Cabinet could do that.
And it gets worse still.....
In the European Court of Justice this afternoon, the ECJ has ruled that Britain can unilaterally withdraw from Brexit without having to seek approval from the other 27 EU member nations. The application was brought before the ECJ by Scottish MEP's and the Scottish National Party who are angry about Scotland being given no say over Brexit despite Scotland voting to Remain.
The ruling has yet to be ratified by the Council of Ministers, but it's unprecedented for them to go against an ECJ ruling. It's highly unlikely that the CofM will overturn the ruling.
This means that if Britain did decide to withdraw from Brexit, no other member state could block the move. In normal circumstances, any member nation would have a veto, but the ECJ ruling overrules the right of veto in this instance on legal grounds.
This will be of advantage to the SNP when / if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom. Other aspects of the ECJ ruling means that a Scottish application to join the EU is much more likely to succeed in the future*. No details on that yet, but watch this space.
Where does this leave Brexit..? Your guess is as good as mine. It doesn't
mean Brexit will be dropped, or even that another referendum is imminent, but it does nothing to prevent one from happening, especially as the government's ability to prevent a second referendum is seriously degraded by the vote in Parliament this afternoon.
It also means that Parliament can unilaterally suspend Brexit to facilitate a General Election of a second referendum. Or both. All of a sudden, March 29 may not be the finishing line after all.
It will be interesting to see how Remainer MP's act in the next few weeks. January in Parliament could be interesting.
Remainers are certainly encouraged by this afternoon's events and the anger being already displayed by prominent Brexiters is starting to look like genuine fear that Brexit could yet be thwarted.
In a nutshell.... It aint over yet. Not now it aint.
* I believe that Scotland's case would be that, if an application to join the EU by Scotland was made after Brexit, the ruling would sustain Scotland's argument that they were unfairly denied the right to decide their own future by Westminster and were therefore forced out of the EU against the will of the Scottish people.
This is not yet confirmed as being the case, but it's how I've read it in another forum.