Brexit-blocker peers may land us with a band deal, warns the PM ahead of second vote in the Lords

  • Theresa May has warned peers against restricting her ability to trigger Brexit
  • Ministers are braced for another defeat in the Lords who seek caution over Brexit
  • Mrs May’s spokesman said yesterday: ‘She believes we should not commit to any process that would incentivise the EU to offer us a bad deal.’

Theresa May has warned peers they will ‘incentivise’ Brussels to give Britain a bad deal if they restrict her ability to walk away from the EU without Parliamentary agreement.

Ministers are braced for a second defeat in the Lords tonight as its members seek to add further conditions to the legislation needed to take the country out of the EU.

Peers are expected to vote for an amendment that would give Parliament the power to stop Mrs May from taking the country out of Europe without an agreed Brexit deal.

They want the Prime Minister to ensure that Parliament gets a ‘meaningful’ say on the deal she agrees – not simply a ‘take-it-or-leave it’ vote.

Asked for the PM’s message to peers preparing to vote on the European Union (Notification Of Withdrawal) Bill, Mrs May’s spokesman said yesterday: ‘She believes we should not commit to any process that would incentivise the EU to offer us a bad deal.

‘If we are in a position where any deal negotiated by the Prime Minister could be rejected by MPs, that gives strength potentially to other parties in the negotiation.’

Tonight’s vote comes after the peers last week backed an amendment calling on Mrs May to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

But former Tory chancellor Norman Lamont last night told his fellow peers they risked calling their existence ‘into question’ by voting against the Government.

He warned that Brexit was ‘under attack’ from those who did not accept the referendum result. ‘The result was clear, the question was simple and unambiguous and yet Brexit is under attack on several fronts,’ he said.

‘Some say maybe in the future the British people will change their minds. By that they mean they would like to change their minds for them.’

Lord Lamont said bringing amendments to the Brexit Bill is ‘not the same as scrutiny’ and warned ‘common sense must prevail’.

‘Amendments should not be used as a cover by those who are seeking to oppose the results of the referendum,’ he said. In an article for the blog ConservativeHome, Brexit minister Robin Walker said: ‘If we were to pretend, contrary to the wording of Article 50 itself, that the whole process could simply be reversed at the last minute, or that Parliament could say no to a deal and return us to the status quo before the referendum, it would only serve to incentivise the most negative and aggressive approach from our negotiating counterparties.’

If the Lords pass the amendment then when the bill returns to the Commons next week MPs will vote on whether it should be retained.

÷ Many more allotments may be needed after Brexit according to one Labour peer. Speaking in the Lords yesterday, Baroness Andrews said: ‘When we have left the EU, we are probably going to have to grow a lot more of our own food, therefore we are going to need many more allotments.’

March 7th, 2017: Daily Mail