House of Lords approve bill to force a Brexit delay

The House of Lords during the vote on the Brexit delay bill. Photograph: Parliament TV.

The House of Lords during the vote on the Brexit delay bill. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

The House of Lords has approved a law which would force prime minister Boris Johnson to seek a delay to Brexit if he fails to deliver a deal before October 31st.

After the Tories dropped filibustering amendments earlier in the week the bill sailed through the House of Lords, with no formal vote at the third reading.

The legislation requires a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 unless a divorce deal is approved or parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by October 19.

It is now expected to receive royal assent on Monday, thereby completing all stages required to become law.

Lord Callanan said the bill brought "delay and uncertainty" while undermining the government's efforts to negotiate the withdrawal agreement.

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He said it also aimed to tie the prime minister's hands when he was seeking to secure the best possible Brexit deal.

But he assured peers the legislation would be presented for royal assent.

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"This bill is about seriously undermining negotiations that could achieve a deal before October 31, frustrating the referendum result and stopping Brexit," Lord Callanan said.

MORE: Lords keep Kinnock amendment blaming lack of Commons time to debate

But Best for Britain chief executive Naomi Smith said the Lords have guided Britain "further away from the No Deal cliff edge towards which the PM has been stumbling blindly".

"Parliament has forced Boris Johnson into a corner and his reckless Brexit strategy is in tatters. He must now uphold democratic process and formally seek this extension or face the courts."

Liberal Democrat leader in the Lords Dick Newby said: "Despite cynical attempts from Tory backbenchers to filibuster, the Article 50 Extension Bill has seen safe passage through the House of Lords. It seems that - unlike our suitcases - their threats of disruption were empty.

"Liberal Democrats in both the Lords and the Commons have fought tirelessly against the attempts by the prime minister to force a disastrous no-deal Brexit, and this bill is an important step towards trying to sort out the mess the government has made."

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