Lord Heseltine, one of the Europhile Conservative peers who backed the amendment, told the Lords that he “deeply” regretted the outcome of last year’s EU referendum and that “the fightback starts here.”
He said: “I do not accept that the mandate for Brexit runs for all time and in all circumstances.
“The 48 per cent [who voted Remain] have the same right to be heard as those who voted for Brexit.”
He said the amendment would ensure that Parliament has the “critical role in determining the future we will bequeath to generations of young people.”
Fellow Conservative peer Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said the amendment was unnecessary, and poked fun at Lord Heseltine’s infamous breach of Parliamentary protocol by saying: “This is not the moment for this House to grab the mace and challenge the authority of the House of Commons.”
Another proposed amendment, which called for a second referendum on Britain’s Brexit deal with the EU, was defeated in the Lords. Among those speaking against it were the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, who said another referendum would be “unwise and wrong” as it would “add to our divisions, it will deepen the bitterness” that resulted from the original referendum.
Those who opposed it warned allowing the amendment onto the face of the bill would slow down the process and could ultimately lead to Brexit being blocked by those who refused to vote for it in the Commons.
Lords, including the Government minister Lord Bridges, also cautioned that the amendment leaves too many questions unanswered; not least what happens if the UK fails to secure a deal.