David Lammy has accused the Conservatives of “contempt for Parliament” after it emerged all 15 Lords amendments to the EU withdrawal bill will be debated in one marathon session next week.
A letter sent to Conservatives MPs today by government chief whip Julian Smith announced that the amendments would be debated and voted on a week tomorrow (June 12).
The letter says: “I know that the Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is of great interest to many of you and I am able to confirm that this will take place on 12 June.
“There will be a number of Divisions [votes] that day so please make sure that you are working from the [parliamentary] estate at all times – we will be voting well beyond the moment on interruption [the usual end of business in the Commons].
“Over the coming days and weeks you should expect frequent contact from your whip. Your support in responding promptly is always appreciated.
“Given the importance of the business that we will be considering, the numbers of pairs [an arrangement which allows MPs to miss votes by pairing with an absent MP from a rival party] available will be significantly reduced. I would ask that you keep this in mind.
“I look forward to working with you to deliver back to the House of Lords the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in a way that reflects both the referendum result and the Conservative Party manifesto we all stood on last year.”
Mr Lammy, the Labour MP who is a champion for the anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaign group, said: “This shows total contempt of Parliament to try and railroad 15 amendments through Parliament in just a single session. “This piece of legislation will have huge consequences for the future of our country for generations to come. “There is no shortage of parliamentary time – the government has hardly put any substantive legislation before Parliament since the general election because their mandate is shot to pieces and the Cabinet is divided over Brexit.”
The 15 amendments passed by peers include an effort to keep the UK in the EU single market and a custom union after Brexit – both of which have been ruled out by prime minister Theresa May.
Others would gives Parliament a meaningful vote at the end of talks and a veto on the government’s negotiating position, while another would ensure the EU’s environmental principles were enshrined in UK law.
The government is most likely to face defeat over the issue of remaining in “a”, if not “the”, customs union.