United Kingdom government disappointed by Lords votes on Brexit laws, vows robust action

by Dominic Parks May 4, 2018, 10:49
United Kingdom government disappointed by Lords votes on Brexit laws, vows robust action

"We are disappointed that the House of Lords has voted for this amendment in spite of the assurances we have provided", Minister of state at the Brexit department Martin Callanan said after the vote.

Earlier in the day, the Lords had riled Brexiteers by backing an amendment aimed at giving Parliament power to set the Government's future course on Brexit if it ends up rejecting any deal agreed by Theresa May later this year.

Mr Davis said his officials are still working on a United Kingdom version of the backstop.

MPs have already defeated the government once on the issue of a meaningful vote and the issue will now return to the Commons for it to be decided once and for all.

Speaking ahead of the vote, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The Withdrawal Bill is about ensuring we leave the European Union in a smooth and orderly manner".

Both sides hope to negotiate the UK's withdrawal agreement by this October in order to give the United Kingdom and European Parliaments enough time to debate and vote on it before the moment of departure.

If it comes into force, it will "tie the hands" of the government, critics say, and could result in Brexit being thwarted altogether, as MPs overwhelmingly back remaining inside the bloc - against the wishes of the British people.

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Viscount Hailsham's amendment would allow Parliament to determine the government's course of action if MPs rejected the deal or if the United Kingdom and European Union were not able to reach an agreement of any kind.

Brexit Secretary David Davis last week admitted that the government would have the option of asking for an extension to Article 50 negotiations, should Parliament request it.

The former Tory minister Viscount Hailsham said: "In democracies both Parliament and the electorate have the right to change their minds".

"I'm afraid it reveals the appalling lengths to which the die-hard Remainers are prepared to go to achieve their aims", he said.

Speaking afterwards, he said ministers would consider the implications of the vote.

"Second, it demands specific votes by artificial deadlines which, if not met, would give parliament the power to micromanage the government on how to carry out these negotiations".

Baroness Wheatcroft added: "It's increasingly clear the public wants a final vote on the final deal".

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