Lord Norman Lamont, former Chancellor and Leave supporter, claimed the Upper Chamber could be “called into question” if they vote against Britain’s European Union divorce again.
Theresa May suffered her first Brexit defeat at the hand of the Lords, who defeated the Government, adding an amendment to the Brexit Bill to protect the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.
Speaking before the third stage of the debate, Lord Lamont claimed the Prime Minister was right to assume further interruption from the House of Lords could leave Britain weaker at the Brussels negotiating table.
He told Sky News: “I think the Prime Minister is quite right, if the House of Lords voted so that Parliament could reject a deal that is not sufficient for Britain’s purposes – Britain would be left in a very weak position.
“Having to go back to Europe saying the deal you have given us isn’t good enough, please give us a better one – we would be in a ridiculous position.
“Also, what some people in the House of Lords seem to want is Parliament to vote against whatever is negotiated and say we want to remain in the EU – that would be to deny the result of the referendum.”
Lord Lamont added: “I do believe, and I don’t want to appear threatening, the House of Lords would be calling itself into question by doing this.
“We have had a referendum, the result was clear, the question simple – it ought to be accepted and these tactics of trying to slow things down and make it awkward – they’re not consistent of the result of the referendum.”
Peers are expected to demand a “meaningful” vote on Brexit in Parliament, with Mrs May already offering a “take it or leave it” ballot, but the reforms could allow Parliament to force the Government back to negotiations with the EU.
A No.10 spokesman said: “We have bee clear on a number of occasions that the PM wants to see this bill passed unamended.
“On the issue of a meaningful vote, the PM believes we shouldn’t commit to any process that will incentivise the EU to offer us a bad deal.”
The Prime Minister maintains that she will be able to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, as promised by Mrs May.
Writing in the Times, Baroness Evans, Tory leader of the Lords, warned peers they should be ready to back down over Brexit.
She wrote: “If the elected house once again sends us a clean bill, it will be for us to accept that without delay.”
March 6th, 2017: Express