It is hysterical – but it isn’t funny.
Liam Fox knows perfectly well that the House of Lords has a duty to ensure that legislation is of the highest possible quality.
It seems perfectly obvious to This Writer that, if Parliament votes down a Brexit deal negotiated by Theresa May as unacceptable, MPs should be able to send ministers back for further negotiations.
Mr Fox might be happy with a ‘no deal’ Brexit, but the British public didn’t vote for it!
The second amendment that the Lords voted through – meaning MPs would have to approve a mandate for ministers to proceed into phase two of Brexit negotiations with the EU.
This means Parliament would be able to dictate the terms under which negotiations take place, in a similar procedure to that in which the EU27 nations approve the mandate of Michel Barnier.
Mr Fox is unhappy because he doesn’t want MPs having a say. He thinks “taking back control” doesn’t mean giving it to our elected representatives but handing it over to a tiny number of senior Tories.
The third defeat for the government was on an amendment put forward by Lord Dubs to ensure that child asylum seekers would be allowed to join family members in the UK after Brexit happens.
The fact that Mr Fox opposes such a move suggests that all the Tory hand-wringing over wrongful deportations has been a lie. They want Johnny Foreigner out of the UK and they are prepared to exploit children to do it!
Theresa May, who is amazingly still – at the time of writing – prime minister, said the government would make a “robust” response to the amendments when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons.
She seems to be hoping to reverse the decisions but Parliamentary arithmetic suggests she may have to seek the aid of Labour MPs to achieve it.
Labour – of course – has been playing a cagey game. Its policy is to support Brexit and let the Conservatives make a complete mess of the negotiations, in the hope that a future Labour government will do better.
As none of the Lords’ amendments actually block Brexit, there is no reason for Labour to block them.
Mrs May’s position is looking more precarious by the minute.
Liam Fox has accused unelected peers in the House of Lords of trying to block the UK from leaving the European Union.
The international trade secretary said it would be “rash” for Labour MPs who represent leave-voting constituencies to back the Lords’ amendments to the EU withdrawal bill when it returns to the Commons.
The government suffered three more Brexit defeats in the House of Lords overnight, taking the total to nine, and Fox’s appeal to Labour MPs suggests the government is banking on the support of opposition Brexiters to quash the changes.
The key defeat was an amendment that would allow parliament to send ministers back to the negotiating table if MPs voted down Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Labour said the new clause to the EU withdrawal bill would in effect prevent Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal and would give Tory remainers the confidence to vote against a damaging deal. The cross-party amendment, supported by 19 Conservative rebels, succeeded with a majority of 91.
Overnight, peers also voted for an amendment that would require parliamentary approval for the Brexit negotiating mandate in phase two of the talks – similar to the process where EU27 leaders approve the mandate of their chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
The third defeat was led by the Labour peer Alf Dubs, who won backing for his amendment which would ensure child asylum seekers would be allowed to join family members in the UK after Brexit.
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