House of Lords rejects Brexit bill
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 02, 2017,
Mar 02, 2017, 13:51
"We are disappointed the Lords have chosen to amend a bill that the Commons [Lower House] passed without amendment", a spokeswoman for the Brexit department said in a statement.
He said: "The consequences for the economy and so numerous services in the United Kingdom, as result of those non-British EU nationals. being no longer available [to work in the UK] would be catastrophic".
Labour shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said the vote left Prime Minister Theresa May "increasingly isolated", while the SNP's Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins said the Lords had "done what the House of Commons failed to do".
May plans to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the process that begins the divorce, by the end of March.
The government wanted to push through the bill in its most basic form - simply giving the prime minister the power to trigger article 50, the EU's exit clause. But government sources said the ruling benches will seek to overturn the amendment when it comes to the House of Commons next week. His decision is all the more interesting because the experienced advocate is a crossbench peer, and therefore not under pressure to vote along party lines.
The vote, by 358 to 256, was the first parliamentary defeat for the government's Brexit bill, which has already passed through the House of Commons.
Labor peer Baroness Hayter, who put forward the amendment, said European Union residents in Britain risked being used as bargaining chips in the negotiations and it was in the gift of the government to stop this from happening.
There have also been widespread lobbies of Parliament by a wide range of European Union citizens who say they are already feeling the impact of uncertainty around their status.
He said denying European citizens the right to remain in Britain could face legal challenge, but also said it was a matter of principle.
MPs approved the bill by a large majority last month and are certain to reject the amendment, sending the original bill back to the Lords, who are likely to give in.
"I think it is possible, you can't rule out the possibility that at the end of the day we have negotiated something that is expensive", the Conservative politician replied. Prime Minister May has since specifically stated that she would be prepared to leave Europe without the negotiation of a similar deal with Europe, much to the concern of many United Kingdom politicians.
"Voting for departure is not the same as voting for a destination", said Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who called on the government to guarantee a second referendum to approve a final deal with the bloc.