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Mon, 21 September 2020

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Tory peers launch bid to block no-deal bill with filibuster in House of Lords

Tory peers launch bid to block no-deal bill with filibuster in House of Lords
3 min read

A group of Tory peers will launch a bid to block the no-deal bill when it reaches the House of Lords by laying down a series of wrecking amendments.

They will seek to filibuster in the upper chamber to prevent a motion being voted on which would ensure the legislation can be passed before Parliament is prorogued.

A total of 86 amendments have been tabled to a motion by Labour’s leader in the Lords, Baroness Angela Smith, which sets out the timetable for the bill to block a no-deal to go through its various stages.

Insiders say they are “ready for a proper all-nighter” to try and stop the Conservative peers from preventing the Business of the House motion being passed before Wednesday’s sitting is completed.

That could potentially allow peers to delay the Extension Bill becoming law before Boris Johnson suspends Parliament early next week, and would not stop him taking the UK out of the EU on October 31 in all circumstances.

After MPs voted on Tuesday night to allow the bill to be introduced, it is now expected to pass through all stages in the Commons on Wednesday.

Baroness Smith’s motion would ensure peers are able to debate all stages of the proposed legislation before 5pm on Friday.

This means, barring any further amendments, it would be cleared for Royal Assent to become law before the end of the current parliamentary session, therefore legally binding the Prime Minister’s hands.

Baroness Smith said: “Should MPs agree to the proposed bill, it would be completely unacceptable for the Government to try and use its peers to scupper that legislation.

“In fact, it would go against a key constitutional principle of the primacy of the elected House of Commons – the House of Lords does not block laws agreed by MPs.”

“My business motion invites peers to debate and discuss the bill in an orderly way, including an additional sitting this Friday, to allow full consideration of the proposals before next week’s scheduled prorogation of Parliament.”

The motion has the formal backing of the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, Dick Newby, who posted a picture of himself arriving in Parliament on Wednesday with a “duvet, change of clothes and shaving kit” saying it could “take us a while to see off 86 wrecking amendments”.

He added: “There has been persistent government briefing that it will use its peers to filibuster a bill passed by the House of Commons in order to prevent it being passed before Prorogation. This is simply intolerable.

“What this motion does is to balance the need for proper scrutiny with the need to get the bill through in an orderly way before Prorogation.”


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