The House of Lords is gearing up for a fresh Brexit challenge to Theresa May over EU citizens’ rights and a vote on a final divorce deal with Brussels, HuffPost UK can reveal.
On Thursday morning, Labour tabled two new motions serving notice on the Government that ministers will not be let off the hook even after the PM triggers the Article 50 process of quitting the EU later this month.
The EU Withdrawal Bill was set to become law with the Royal Assent of the Queen on Thursday, but the new House of Lords move signals that there will be a long Parliamentary battle ahead as May conducts her two-year talks with the 27 other EU states.
One motion tabled by Labour seeks to force ministers to update peers on EU citizens’ rights ’by the end of’ the current Parliamentary session.
HuffPost understands that the Queen’s Speech is pencilled in for May 17th, meaning that the motion would require a Government update by May 11, when Parliament is expected to start its recess.
More than three million people living in the UK are EU nationals and campaigners want reassurances about their future as soon as possible after the Article 50 process starts.
May and Brexit Secretary David Davis have said that they expect an ‘early’ resolution to the issue, and have denied they are using residents here as ‘bargaining chips’ to force Brussels to give British ex-pats similiar rights on the continent after Brexit is completed in 2019.
The Government suffered a heavy defeat in the Lords on the EU citizens’ issue this month, but overturned it in the Commons and the Brexit bill was passed unamended on Monday.
The second Labour motion calls for the creation of the creation of a Joint Committee of Lords and Commons “to consider and report on the terms and options for any votes in Parliament on the outcome of the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union”. It states the new committee should report by October 31 this year.
Both motions are likely to be discussed in a single debate and to be passed with large majorities in the Lords, where the Government faces a strong anti-Tory majority.
Blogging for HuffPost UK, Baroness Smith said: “I hope the government takes these motions in the spirit that they’ve been tabled.
“Yes, Labour wants to hold Ministers to account over the guarantees and assurances they have given to date.
“But we can also be useful, and I would encourage the Prime Minister to engage the expertise and knowledge that sits in both Houses - on our benches and elsewhere. You never know, it might just help strengthen her negotiating hand.”
If passed, the second motion would be passed to the Commons, where Tory MPs - secure in the knowledge that Article 50 had been triggered - are expected to join with Labour MPs in securing the vote.