Lords keep fudged Kinnock amendment blaming lack of Commons time to debate

PUBLISHED: 14:41 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 06 September 2019

The Lords have rejected a bid to remove the Kinnock amendment saying there is not enough parliamentary time to debate it again. Picture: Parliament TV

The Lords have rejected a bid to remove the Kinnock amendment saying there is not enough parliamentary time to debate it again. Picture: Parliament TV

Parliament TV

The House of Lords has voted to keep the Kinnock amendment despite the very disorderly circumstances in which it was passed, blaming the "guillotine of prorogation" for tying the Commons' hands.

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The Lords rejected by a majority of 221 a bid to remove the amendment, which obliges a vote on Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement, even though they called it "confusingly drafted" and "legally inoperable".

The amendment, which was made to a bill designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit, was passed automatically when no teller was available to speak for the "no" vote, in circumstances that have been labelled "skulduggery".

WATCH: Passing of Kinnock amendment labelled 'skulduggery' amidst Commons confusion

It was put forward by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, ringleader of a group of around 19 MPs, many of whom sit in Leave constituencies.

It commits the House of Commons to a debate on Theresa May's final Brexit deal during a Brexit extension to next January.

MORE: Who are the rebel opposition MPs calling for the return of Theresa May's deal?

But because of the murky circumstances in which it was passed, Tory peers argued this was a mistake which should be corrected to make clear and effective law.

Brexit minister Lord Callanan said the amendment was "confusingly drafted", contradictory to the aims of the legislation, and "legally inoperable".

For the opposition, Lord Goldsmith said it did no harm to keep it in the bill because there wasn't time to send it back to the Commons for further consideration due to the "guillotine of prorogation imposed by the Prime Minister".

The bid to remove the amendment was rejected by 268 votes to 47.

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