Is the UK government in contempt of parliament over Brexit and when is the motion's vote?

Here's what we know about the term and what it means for Theresa May's plans.

Is the government in contempt of Parliament?

Speaker John Bercow has told MPs he believes "contempt" could have been committed by Theresa May's Government over Brexit legal advice.

Mr Bercow made the comments in response to demands from Labour, the DUP and four other opposition parties complaining the summary legal advice released on Monday did not comply with a Commons resolution agreed on November 13.

Ministers were told by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox that once the withdrawal agreement with the EU is signed, the UK will never escape the deal without breaking the law.

Mr Bercow said: "The letter that I received from the members mentioned at the start of this statement asks me to give precedence to a motion relating to privilege in relation to the failure of ministers to comply with the terms of the resolution of the House of the 13 November."

"I have considered the matter carefully and I am satisfied that there is an arguable case that a contempt has been committed.

What is contempt of Parliament?

Contempt of Parliament is defined as any action taken by either a MP, lord or a stranger (a member of neither house) which obstructs or impedes either Parliament in the performance of its functions, or its Members or staff in the performance of their duties.

Examples of contempt include giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee, threatening a Member of Parliament, forgery of documents and attempting to bribe members.

The Commons has the power to order anyone who has committed contempt of Parliament to appear at the Bar of the House and to punish the offender.

If the offence has been committed by an MP he or she may be suspended or expelled.

When is the motion's vote?

Theresa May will open the five-day debate in Parliament which will end with the crunch vote on her withdrawal agreement a week today.

She is on course for a heavy defeat in the Commons as opposition parties team up with Tory rebels and the DUP to vote down the deal.

The debate starting today is Mrs May's final chance to convince MPs they should perform a last-minute U-turn and save her career.

Mrs May will make the opening speech in the Brexit deal debate this afternoon, after a Cabinet meeting with her senior ministers.

Later today Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will lay out the case for approving the withdrawal agreement.

Tomorrow Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt will speak in the debate, with Philip Hammond and Liam Fox following on Thursday.

The debate will then restart on Monday, with the vote expected next Tuesday evening.

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