Government threat to Lords if peers try to block Brexit

Posted On: 
9th February 2017

The Government has issued a clear threat to the House of Lords that it will face calls for abolition unless peers wave through the Brexit bill.

A government source suggested the Lords could be under threat
Credit: 
PA

The legislation easily passed the House of Commons last night with MPs voting by 494-122 in favour of triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Despite opposition parties tabling some 140 pages of amendments, the bill went through without any changes.

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More than 50 Labour MPs defied a three-line whip and voted against the Government, with Shadow Business Secretary Clive Lewis stepping down front bench over the vote.

LORDS STAGES

The Government now needs the approval of the upper house before it can proceed with its timetable of starting Brexit before the end of March.

Debates in the Lords will start on February 20 following a brief recess. 

Several peers, including former minister Lord Hain, have made clear they will opposed the passage of the bill. 

'PATRIOTIC DUTY'

In a statement following the vote, Brexit Secretary David Davis called on peers to "do its job and to do its patriotic duty and actually give us the right to go on and negotiate that new relationship".

A government source told the BBC: "If the Lords don't want to face an overwhelming public call to be abolished they must get on and protect democracy and pass this bill."

However Mr Davis was cool on the idea of "bloodcurdling" threats to peers, calling them "silly". 

A Number 10 source played down any threats, saying:

"The Lords have an important role in scrutinising and debating the Bill, a Bill that passed with no amendments and gives affect to the will of the people. We welcome them exercising this role.