Have peers handed MPs chance to scupper Brexit?
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May has suffered more despair after the Lords dealt the government another heavy blow in a bid to ensure parliament has the final say on Brexit.
The government said it would now 'consider the implications' of the Lords defeat, claiming it would weaken the prime minister's hand in negotiations with the European Union and could even give MPs the power to delay Brexit indefinitely.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the Lords vote was a 'hugely significant moment' and would help to avoid the risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Peers backed an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill by 335 to 244, a majority of 91, to give parliament a decisive say on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, including in the event of a no-deal scenario.
Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and ex-ministers Lord Patten of Barnes and Lord Willetts were among 19 Tory rebels.
You may also want to watch:
Brexit Minister Lord Callanan said: 'We are disappointed that the House of Lords has voted for this amendment in spite of the assurances we have provided.
'What this amendment would do is weaken the UK's hand in our negotiations with the EU by giving parliament unprecedented powers to instruct the government to do anything with regard to the negotiations – including trying to keep the UK in the EU indefinitely.
- 1 Why don't Brexiteers like to talk about Brexit any more?
- 2 Major disaster: How Tories' 1992 victory sowed seeds of Brexit
- 3 Brexit: British 'expats' in Spain facing deportation over residency
- 4 Is the Sun setting on Murdoch's global media empire?
- 5 When Eton took on a team of miners at football
- 6 The 40 best European TV shows to stream
- 7 Michael O'Leary: My hope for the future over Brexit
- 8 Did Donald Trump really wear his trousers backwards at Republicans' North Carolina rally?
- 9 The fight against the homogenisation of the British Isles
- 10 English to be temporarily replaced by French as EU's 'working language' in 2022
'It is absolutely right that Parliament is able to scrutinise the final deal, and that is why we have already committed to giving both Houses a vote on the final deal.
'We will now consider the implications of the House of Lords' decision.'
Sir Keir urged the prime minister to accept the cross-party amendment, warning that there was 'no majority in parliament for a no-deal Brexit'.
He said: 'If parliament votes down the Article 50 deal, then parliament must decide what happens next. Under no circumstances can the Prime Minister be given a blank cheque to crash the UK out of the EU without a deal.'
Lord Newby, the Liberal Democrat leader in the Lords, said the government's defeat on the issue 'puts parliament in the driving seat'.
He said: 'Brexit is the most important decision facing the country for a generation and it is vital that Parliament - not the Government - decides whether or not any Brexit deal is acceptable.'
Crossbench peer Lord Malloch-Brown, chairman of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said: 'This feels like a turning point. This is a massive defeat for the government.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.