Theresa May insisted that "candid" legal advice given to ministers should remain confidential as the Government faced being found in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the guidance on the Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister told Cabinet it was a "long-standing convention" that "neither the fact nor the content of law officers' advice is shared outside Government without their consent".

READ MORE: Brexit contempt of Parliament proceedings over withheld legal advice backed by Commons speaker 

The Government faces censure for refusing to hand over the advice demanded by the House of Commons in a motion last month.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox insisted the Government has "gone out of its way" to satisfy Parliament's motion calling for the release of the full legal advice on the Brexit deal.

In a letter to Speaker John Bercow he said the motion passed on November 13 calling for the publication of the advice was "extremely vague".

MPs will vote on whether ministers are in contempt and demand a fresh order to publish the "final and full legal advice" provided by the Attorney General to Cabinet.
The constitutional row came as:

- Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned a no-deal Brexit could result in shopping bills soaring by 10%
- The European Court of Justice's senior lawyer said that Article 50, which started the Brexit process, could be revoked unilaterally by the UK
- A senior Toyota executive warned a no-deal Brexit could result in "stop-start production" for weeks or months at the car giant's UK plant

The dispute over whether Mr Cox's advice should be published threatened to overshadow the start of a marathon Commons debate on the deal which will be opened by Mrs May on Tuesday ahead of the crunch vote on December 11.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake suggested that Mr Cox should be suspended from the Commons if he is found to have been in contempt.

The Government continued to resist calls for the advice to be published and instead sought for the Committee of Privileges, made up of a small cross-party panel of MPs, to consider the issue.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the Government has been "wilfully refusing to comply" with a binding order issued by MPs over the Brexit legal advice.
He told the Commons: "That is contempt."

READ MORE: No 10: UK Government will not revoke Article 50 after ECJ legal opinion 

But Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said: "No honourable member could say in all honesty that the Attorney General has done anything other than treat this House with the greatest of respect, there can be no question that he or the Government has acted in a manner which is contemptuous of this House."

The dispute came as the ECJ's advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona said the UK could withdraw its notification to leave the EU before its exit in March 2019 without needing the approval of the other 27 states.
The guidance is not binding on the Luxembourg court, which is considering the issue in response to a request from British parliamentarians.

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman told reporters in Westminster that "this is not a final judgment", adding: "It does nothing in any event to change the clear position of the Government that Article 50 is not going to be revoked."
Meanwhile, Mr Carney stepped up his warnings about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.

He told the Commons Treasury Committee increased tariff prices, import costs and a collapse in the value of the pound would send food prices soaring "quite quickly".
In the most extreme no-deal scenario shopping bills could rise by up to 10%, but even in an orderly no-deal withdrawal, with a transition period, he said grocery prices could rise by 6%.

At the Commons Business Committee, Toyota Europe deputy managing director Tony Walker warned that without a deal to protect cross-continent supply chains, its operations in the UK would face major challenges.

"Without the Withdrawal Agreement, withdrawing with no deal, we would have stop-start production for weeks, possibly months," he said. "It would be very, very difficult for us to cope with."

Mrs May faces a battle to get her Brexit deal through Parliament and will begin the fight with a speech in the Commons at the start of five days of debate on the package.

Over the coming days she will deploy senior Cabinet ministers to make the case, with Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid expected to appear at the despatch box.

Mrs May will tell MPs: "The British people want us to get on with a deal that honours the referendum and allows us to come together again as a country, whichever way we voted.