Boris Johnson's Brexit bill heavily defeated again in House of Lords vote

Peers take their seats in the House of Lords before the State Opening Of Parliament

Peers take their seats in the House of Lords before the state opening of parliament. The Upper House is one area of British life in need of an overhaul, says Ian Dunt - Credit: Getty Images

Boris Johnson's Brexit bill has been heavily defeated again in a House of Lords.

Peers voted 367 to 209 for a cross-party amendment that would prevent Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for being "bypassed" once the UK's Brexit transition period ended on December 31.

The result is deemed one of the biggest Lords defeats in history.

Nicola Sturgeon has alleged the bill “a full-frontal assault on devolution” because it hands to London previous EU powers over food safety, minimum pricing, environmental policy and animal health and welfare.

This comes after Johnson was reported saying that devolution had been a "disaster" in Scotland.

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Speaking about the bill, Labour frontbencher Lord Stevenson of Balmacara said: “Is this to be a single market under new rules created and imposed from Westminster, or is it to be all four nations working together managing appropriate divergence as they are doing currently through the successful common frameworks process?

“It can be argued that what this bill is actually about is gathering powers which should be devolved to an insensitive centre which is trying to imprison a multinational country… into a straitjacket of a unitary state. We can and need to do better than that.”

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Liberal Democrat Baroness Randerson said the “mask has slipped” over the prime minister’s commitment to devolution.

Lady Randerson said: “This bill strikes quite deliberately at the whole basis of devolution. It is designed to roll-back devolution and I warn the government that their tactics are dangerous and they are playing with fire.”

Tory former solicitor general Lord Garnier warned that without the proposed change to the bill the common frameworks system was redundant and ministers would “encourage and even hasten the break-up of the UK”.

Tory Lord Cormack said the union was at risk because “the prime minister is perceived to have a rather haughty attitude towards Scotland” and the government was perceived not to care sufficiently about the frameworks.

But another Conservative peer, Baroness Noakes, warned that to amend the legislation would create uncertainty, adding: “Uncertainty kills business.”

Critics of the bill say it violates international law due to provisions that would see barriers put up in the Irish Sea, therefore, annulling the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Britain signed earlier this year.

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