Upper House is doing its job on Brexit bill

PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:41 13 March 2018

House of Lords

House of Lords

PA Wire/PA Images

It might not be getting many column inches, but what is currently happening in the Upper House is encouraging.

Peers are conducting their detailed, line-by-line analysis of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill during its marathon committee stage.

And so far it has not made pleasant viewing for the government. The bill has been pulled apart and scrutinised – some Brexiteers will claim the Lords are trying to stifle Brexit, but that is not the case.

Peers have always been clear they are not trying to block the bill but just do their job and improve upon it. And with the dog’s dinner of a bill they were presented with that was always going to be a gargantuan task.

And now Leavers and Remainers in the Lords have united to press the government to accept updated EU rules on clinical trials post-Brexit.

Ministers were warned it would be “disastrous” not to adopt the new regulations, which the UK had been instrumental in reforming.

Peers heard that although the regulation had already been agreed, its official introduction had now been delayed until 2020 – after the UK’s split from Brussels.

As such, the government indicated no firm commitment could be made as it would form part of the divorce talks, but this position was rejected by both supporters and opponents of Brexit in the Upper House.

The unelected Lords come in for some flak – and often rightly so. But the peers are doing their job with the Brexit bill.

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