Theresa May has suffered another defeat in the House of Lords over Brexit, with peers voting to give Parliament final approval on the deal the UK secures when quitting the European Union.
Labour and Liberal Democrat peers joined forces to amend the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on Tuesday to demand Parliament be given a “meaningful vote” on the draft exit deal negotiated with Brussels.
The Lords voted by 366 to 268 - a majority of 98.
Last week, the House of Lords voted to give EU citizens living in the UK guaranteed rights to stay under Brexit - representing the first Government defeat on its Brexit legislation.
The Government could still kill both amendments when the Bill returns to the House of Commons as part of parliamentary ‘ping-pong’, and Brexit Secretary David Davis declared straight after the vote:
“It is clear that some in the Lords would seek to frustrate (the) process. We will now aim to overturn these amendments in the House of Commons.”
The Prime Minister has said she would rather walk away with “no deal” than with a “bad deal”. Today’s vote is an attempt to prevent May from leaving a Brexit Britain having to trade with the EU World Trade Organisation rules - which critics worry will leave the UK facing high tariffs on all products exported to the bloc.
During the debate, former Conservative leader Lord Howard accused the House of Lords of trying to secure a “veto” over Brexit.
“I don’t think we should lightly embark upon a course which would not only run the risk of putting one House in conflict with another but of also putting Parliament in conflict with the courts,” he said.
But ex-deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine said Parliament should be “the ultimate custodian of our national sovereignty”.
He said: “I do not accept that the mandate for Brexit runs for all time and in all circumstances.
“The 48 per cent have the same right to be heard as those who voted for Brexit.”
He was among 13 Conservative peers who voted against the Tory government, a list which included the Duke of Wellington (the current holder of the Wellington title of the great military leader is the 9th Duke of Wellington).
The Tory rebels were:
Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint
Baroness McIntosh of Pickering
Duke of Wellington