Could the House of Lords derail Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill?

PUBLISHED: 13:39 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:58 09 January 2020

The House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

The House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The House of Lords have been warned by the government to listen to the ‘will of the people’ and back Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill amid concerns they could derail it.

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Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill is expected to clear the Commons on Thursday after the Tory general election victory gave the prime minister the comfortable majority he desired.

But the legislation will then head to the upper chamber, where there is no government majority and where peers repeatedly dealt blows to Theresa May's administration.

Downing Street urged the unelected House to take heed of the December general election result which delivered Johnson's 80-seat Commons majority.

"The country did deliver a very clear message that they want Brexit to be resolved," the prime minister's official spokesman said.

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Peers expected to begin work on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill next week, the government wants the legislation "to complete its passage through both houses as smoothly as possible".

The spokesman said the legislation clearing the Commons on Thursday would be a "significant positive step" towards the prime minister's target to "get Brexit done".

In September the House of Lords rushed through legislation to ensure that Britain could not leave the European Union in October without a deal.

In recent weeks the Tories have increased the number of supportive Tories that sit in the chamber - with Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith being given life peerages - with plans for more in the coming months.

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