POLITICS

Theresa May Facing Second Defeat In Lords Over Demands Parliament Get Final Brexit Vote

Peers could be up all night

03/03/2017 11:45
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

Theresa May is facing a second defeat in the House of Lords on the Bill designed to begin the Brexit process.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers have the numbers 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 prime minister has said she would rather walk away with “no deal” than with a “bad deal”.

But the amendment would require May to receive parliament’s approval on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The move is an attempt to prevent the prime minister 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.

Opposition peers are expected to win. But The Daily Mail reports the Lib Dems are not taking any chances on the late night vote.

“We are planning for every eventuality and preparing for all-night sessions. If that means pizza and food delivery at 3am then so be it. We have plans in place for sleeping bags and beds,” a party source said.

And the Daily Telegraph reports up to 20 Tory MPs are prepared to join Labour and Lib Dem MPs in the Commons to support a “meaningful vote” if the Lords attaches the amendment to the Bill.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was “democratic and patriotic” to give parliament a vote on the final Brexit deal.

“Those who favour hard Brexit used to talk a good game about Parliamentary sovereignty but they seek to side-line Parliament at every stage of the Brexit process,” he said.

“The Government had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the courts to introduce the Article 50 legislation, but this expert legal advice suggests they may run the risk of it happening again.

“It is completely unacceptable for the Government to only offer Parliament a ‘bad deal or no deal’ ultimatum at the end of the negotiations. It’s the parliamentary equivalent of being asked whether you would prefer to lose an arm or a leg.”

Earlier this week the Lords defeated the government by amending the Bill to include a guarantee that EU nationals living in the UK can remain after Brexit.

The government will now have to overturn this in the Commons if it wants to remove the guarantee.

Labour’s ‘meaningful vote’ amendment:

Insert the following new Clause—

”parliamentary approval for the outcome of negotiations with the European Union

(1) The Prime Minister may not conclude an agreement with the European Union under Article 50(21 of the Treaty on European Union on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union without the approval of both Houses of Parliament.
(2) Such approval shall be required before the European Parliament debates and votes on that agreement.
(3) The prior approval of both Houses of Parliament shall Also be required in relation to an agreement on the future relationship of the United Kingdom with the European Union.
(4) The prior approval of both Houses of Parliament shall Also be required in relation to any decision by the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom shall leave the European Union without an agreement as to the applicable terms.”

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS