Liam Fox accuses Lords of blocking the 'democratic will' of Brits
02 May, 2018, 02:16 | Author: Ted Wilson
Peers have dealt a heavy blow to Theresa May'sBrexit plans, calling for MPs to be given the power to reject a "no-deal" Brexit.
"[The House of Commons] is not a negotiating body; it has never taken that role, I don't believe it wants that role and I don't believe it should have that role... it would immeasurably weaken the government's negotiating position with the European Union and would I believe make our government and our country a laughing stock", former Tory leader Michael Howards said.
Theresa May's government has committed to a vote in parliament on the final deal secured in Brussels in a "take it or leave it" format; that means that if the parliament defeated the final deal, Brexit would proceed without a deal.
Its supporters said Parliament, not ministers, must "determine the future of the country".
He said, "This is a hugely significant moment in the fight to ensure Parliament has a proper role in the Brexit negotiations and that we avoid a no deal situation".
Lord Howard added his fellow Peers' latest betrayal to the Government's key piece of legislation is "tantamount" to stopping Brexit altogether.
The Tory frontbencher added: "There is a clear distinction between the important work of revising legislation and attempting to overturn the referendum result to keep the United Kingdom inside the European Union, in direct opposition to the British people".
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"This is not. about creating a constitutional crisis, nor is it about asking the Commons [the lower house] to take on the negotiations.it is to ask the Commons and Parliament to decide whether the outcome of the negotiations is good enough", said Dianne Hayter, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokeswoman.
The implication - if MPs reject whatever terms are negotiated - the United Kingdom would leave the European Union without a deal on future relations.
Peers voted by 335 to 244 in favour of the amendment, with 19 Conservative rebels defying the government including former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine.
And he categorically ruled out the United Kingdom being in a some of form of customs union with the EU after Brexit, amid speculation the government could be lining up a "customs partnership" or an EU association deal.
"If we were in a customs union with the European Union we would have to accept what the EU negotiated in terms of market access to the United Kingdom without the United Kingdom having a voice".
Speaking specifically about the amendment, he said: "At best it undermines the government's ability to reach a good deal with the EU".
It would also give Parliament control of the process if the legislation enshrining the withdrawal treaty promised by ministers was not approved by 29 March 2019.
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