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Ermine-clad guerrillas will be empowered by Commons Brexit vote

December 14, 2017

The fall-out from last night’s vote by MPs to insist that Parliament has the final say on whether to accept whatever Brexit deal the government finally negotiates will be extensive.

This has further weakened Theresa May’s already fragile government, possibly hastening us towards a general election in early 2018.

The prospect will grow more likely once the House of Lords gets its hands on the enormous Brexit Bill.

So far, relatively little has been said or written about how far the over-whelmingly pro-EU peers might push the government on this controversial bill which threatens to remove Parliamentary scrutiny from so much of the Brexit process. But after Christmas the spotlight will fall on the Lords and when it does we are likely to find it emboldened by last night’s vote.

The decision of the elected House of Commons to insist that the terms of the final deal are brought back to Parliament rather than just signed off by ministers will encourage the unelected Lords to be bolder in their attacks on the Bill than they might have been. It offers them a significant degree of political cover for amending the Bill. They aren’t going to vote it down in its entirety – that would clearly be a step too far for an unelected body and would hurl us into a major constitutional row – but they are likely use a sort of Parliamentary guerrilla warfare to pass amendments that will make the government very uncomfortable.

If the government cannot get these amendments reversed in the Commons, something it has surely made harder for itself by its bullying of rebel Tory MPs yesterday, then the possibility of May being forced to the country grows stronger.

 

From → Politics

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