Downing Street has issued a warning to peers not to try to block controversial legislation overriding key elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
A No 10 spokesman said ministers believed the Salisbury Convention – which states the House of Lords should not vote down legislation to implement government manifesto commitments – should apply to the UK Internal Market Bill.
That is despite the fact the manifesto commitment was to deliver Boris Johnson’s deal through parliament by Christmas 2019 and to leave the EU by January 31.
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“Our deal is the only one on the table. It is signed, sealed and ready. It puts the whole country on a path to a new free trade agreement with the EU.”
It adds: “We will negotiate a trade agreement next year”. On additional pages it says: “Getting Brexit done will allow us to do more on the international stage. We will continue to be an outward-looking country that is a champion of collective security, the rule of law, human rights, free trade, and a rules-based international system.”
But now the government expects peers to support a new bill overriding the original deal and breaking international law.
“We would expect the Lords to abide by the Salisbury Convention,” the spokesman said.
“Guaranteeing the full economic benefit of leaving the EU to all parts of the United Kingdom and ensuring Northern Ireland’s businesses and producers enjoy unfettered access to the rest of the UK were clear Conservative manifesto commitments which this legislation delivers.”
Some peers have warned that the bill – which passed its second reading in the Commons on Monday – will not get through the upper chamber in its current form.