The House of Lords approved Tuesday, March 7th a second amendment to the bill on enabling Brexit for allowing the parliament to vote on the final agreement with the European Union. It hopes that parliamentarians have in the outcome of these discussions to come, the last word on the final agreement and all future trade agreements with the EU. This is another setback for the British government who wanted rather suspend this parliamentary stage permanently.
The Lords inflicted another blow to the British government on Tuesday by approving a second amendment to the bill on enabling Brexit, amendment calling for a parliamentary vote on the outcome of negotiations with the European Union.
The House of Lords demanded that parliamentarians have in the outcome of these discussions to come, the last word on the final agreement and all future trade agreements with the EU .
Members of the upper house of parliament, elected not unlike their counterparts of Commons adopted this amendment defended by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives thirteen peers by 366 votes against 268.
Brexit Minister, David Davis, called the result “disappointing” . “It is clear that some Lords wish to hinder the process , but the government intends to ensure that this does not happen” , he said.
The government has a victory against known in the Lords on Tuesday with the rejection of the amendment calling for a referendum on the Brexit, by 336 votes against 131.
The as amended bill must now return to the House of Commons that will look at the text next week, probably Monday.
“Bandy and Undemocratic”
It is likely that members will void the two amendments adopted by the Lords, including that voted last week to protect the rights of three million EU citizens living in the UK.
But the new amendment approved Tuesday would cause a cold sweat to the Conservative government, which has only a slim majority in the House of Commons.
Twenty Tory MPs are indeed likely to vote for this amendment to provide, in the words of a rebel, Anne Soubry, “a parliamentary safety net” to the British on the conditions of the divorce with the EU.
Liberal Democrat MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has in any case called on MEPs to “have the courage to do the same thing” as the Lords.
Eurosceptic Conservative MP Dominic Raab, however, lamented a “wobbly amendment” and “undemocratic” that “only encourages the EU to offer us a deal rotten” . “I think members will reject” , he added.
Mr. Raab has taken the argument of the First Minister Theresa May, who considers unwise at this stage to ensure the Parliament to have the last word.
She said this could encourage the EU to “propose a bad deal” in the UK, in the hope that parliamentarians then vetoed an EU output.
“This is ridiculous” , commented Dick Newby, head of the Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Lords, pointing himself, the dangers of Brexit without agreement.
“It has to be Parliament that decides whether to prefer the option not agree to a deal offered by the EU” , emphasized David Pannick behind the amendment, sometimes during debates heated.
Until then, Theresa May has only promised a parliamentary vote on the acceptance or rejection of the offer from Brussels. This means that if they rejected the draft agreement, the United Kingdom would leave the EU without any agreement. Critics of Ms. May fear that this will cause an economic and legal chaos because all agreements and commercial contracts between the block 27 and the UK become obsolete overnight.
A survey by BMG Research for the Independent newspaper published Tuesday shows that only 25% of Britons would support an output of the EU with “no set future relations” with the 27-nation bloc.
The double snub of Lords prevented a launch this week of negotiations with Brussels, while Mrs May seeks to keep its promise to activate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March.
The negotiations on Brexit hover on the Brussels European Council where Mrs. May will visit Thursday before the block of 27 chat on Friday of its future without the UK.