Jeremy Corbyn hit by huge Lords rebellion as peers back Norway-style Brexit

Posted On: 
8th May 2018

Peers have backed calls for the UK to strike a Norway-style soft Brexit deal after Jeremy Corbyn was hit by a massive rebellion.

Jeremy Corbyn campaigning for Remain during the EU referendum.
Credit: 
PA Images

In a major shock, the House of Lords voted 245 to 218 in favour of a cross-party amendment to the Government's flagship EU Withdrawal Bill.

It was the 13th defeat peers have inflicted on the landmark legislation, which seeks to transfer European law onto the UK statute book on Brexit day.

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A total of 83 Labour peers defied party orders to abstain and instead voted for Britain to join Norway in the European Economic Area, effectively keeping the UK in the single market - the largest rebellion by its peers in years.

Some 17 Tories also broke their party whip by backing the move.

Proposing the amendment, Labour peer Lord Alli said it was in line with official party policy and was what the majority of its members wanted.

But Tory peer Lord Forsyth said: "What [Lord Alli] is proposing is that we fly in the face of the biggest democratic vote in our history."

Pro-EU Labour MPs welcomed the result of the vote.

Lord Newby, the Liberal Dem leader in the Lords, said: "This victory sends a clear message to those sat round the Cabinet table that Parliament won’t just sit back while Theresa May leads us towards a hard Brexit.

"245 Peers from all parties and none have voted to stay in the single market and protect the UK economy, defeating a Government hell-bent on pursuing ideology over prosperity."

MPs will have the chance to overturn the amendment when the bill returns to the Commons.

Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said on Sunday that Labour could not support remaining in the EEA.

He said: "We would have to be bound by the what's called the acquis, the regulations - but we would have no say in making those regulations."