Labour-led Lords’ rebellion demands Parliamentary vote on Brexit negotiations

Kishwer Falkner, Baroness Falkner of Margravine, speaks at the start of the third day of The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill [Image: HO/AFP/Getty Images].

The Labour Party has won another victory over the Conservative Government, persuading the Lords to demand that Parliament must have final approval over any Brexit deal agreed by Theresa May.

The Tory government has insisted that this would tie negotiators’ hands, effectively denying her the ability to walk away from negotiations, but this is – of course – nonsense.

Parliament’s vote would be on whether the UK should accept a deal – whether it would be in the national interest to do so, rather than in the petty, selfish interests of Conservative ministers. A significant difference!

Let us not forget the courts have ruled that the UK’s sovereignty lies with Parliament – not with Theresa May and her government.

The amendment simply means that the Article 50 Bill, if passed, would give Theresa May permission to negotiate on behalf of Parliament and bring a deal back to Parliament for possible approval.

In legal terms, this would be the proper thing to do, and Mrs May was wrong to demand the right to do whatever she wanted.

No doubt the government will insist on reversing the Lords’ amendment when the Bill returns to the House of Commons.

Whether the Lords have the stamina to fight such a perversion of the law and justice has yet to be seen.

The House of Lords has voted to give parliament a veto over the final outcome of Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations, inflicting a second defeat on the government’s article 50 bill.

Peers supported a Labour-led amendment by 366 to 268, despite the government’s argument that it would “damage the national interest” by making May’s Brexit negotiations more difficult.

Michael Heseltine, the Conservative former deputy prime minister, was one of those leading the rebellion against the government’s position, along with Labour, Liberal Democrat and crossbench peers.

“Everyone in this house knows that we now face the most momentous peacetime decision of our time,” he said. “And this amendment secures in law the government’s commitment … to ensure that parliament is the ultimate custodian of our national sovereignty.

“It ensures that parliament has the critical role in determining the future that we will bequeath to generations of young people.”

The government had rejected the amendment, saying it would weaken May’s hand by denying her the ability to walk away from the negotiating table.

Source: House of Lords defeats government for second time on article 50 bill | Politics | The Guardian

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