NEWS

BBC Question Time: Shami Chakrabarti Signals Cross-Party Effort To Frustrate Article 50 Bill In Lords

Push for votes on final Brexit deal and EU citizen rights.

16/02/2017 23:54 | Updated 17 February 2017

The House of Lords could amend controversial Article 50 legislation to guarantee parliamentary votes on the final Brexit deal and give EU citizens the right to stay in the UK permanently after quitting the European Union, a Labour peer has said.

Shami Chakrabarti, who was appointed to the House of Lords by Jeremy Corbyn, suggested on BBC’s Question Time that cross-party moves were afoot to get amendments to the Bill and disrupt its route through Parliament.

Asked by presenter David Dimbleby whether it was the intention to “get the process of negotiation checked as it goes along, a vote as it goes along”, she replied:

“I believe that is the ambition of many peers of different parties and of no parties. That is the ambition in the weeks ahead.”

Earlier this month, Brexit took a major step forward in the House of Commons as MPs voted overwhelmingly to kickstart the process to leave the EU.

MPs voted in favour of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in the Commons at third reading by 494 to 122, a government majority of 372.

The Bill has now passed to the House of Lords, where the Conservatives do not boast a majority. Earlier this week, Dick Newby, the leader of the Lib Dems in the Lords, echoed Chakrabarti’s sentiment on Brexit votes and EU citizens.

“There are a lot of members of the group for whom Europe is the big thing that has motivated them in politics. We were complacent, truth be told. But things have turned and people on our side feel very strongly about it.”

Brexit Secretary David Davis has admitted that he expected the Bill to “ping pong” back to the House of Commons with amendments over the next fortnight.

They voted by 332 to 290 - a majority of 42 - against ensuring permanent residency in the UK before Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50. 

Earlier in the show, which came from Glasgow, Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney attacked Tory Scottish Secretary David Mundell for leaving EU citizens with “absolutely no idea where they stand, and they are desperate for clarity”.

“Your Government’s not delivered,” he said. “It’s a very simple question to answer.”

Mundell insisted the Government recognises it is an important issue.

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