Lords agree to pass anti-no deal Brexit bill after Tories ditch filibuster attempt

Posted On: 
5th September 2019

The House of Lords has agreed to pass all stages of the anti-no deal Brexit bill by Friday evening after Tory peers ditched their bid to ensure it ran out of time.

Peers will vote through the bill by 5pm on Friday
Credit: 
PA

The Government announced the bill would complete its passage through the Lords by 5pm on Friday following a breakthrough in cross-party talks.

Brexiteer peers had been gearing up for a mammoth attempt to filibuster the business motion after laying over 100 wrecking amendments ahead of the debate.

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That would have meant the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill blocking a no-deal Brexit would not have had enough time to become law before Parliament is suspended next week.

But peace talks between Conservative and Labour whips ended at around 1:30am on Thursday with an agreement to put the bill back to MPs before then so it can become law.

In a statement to peers, Tory chief whip Lord Ashton said: "We have received a commitment from the chief whip in the House of Commons that Commons consideration of any Lords amendments will take place on Monday and it is the Government’s intention that the bill be ready for Royal Assent."

The government climbdown suggests Boris Johnson will allow the bill to pass its final stage in the Commons before trying for a second time to trigger a general election.

Baroness Smith, Labour's leader in the House of Lords, said she hoped there would be "no further frustrations" to the bill's passage through Parliament.

"It has been quite a night. It has been a long debate - and I am grateful to the noble Lords who have stayed the course - it shows the importance of the work we do and the issue we are debating," she said.

"I am grateful that we are now able to confirm that we will be able to complete all stages of the bill in a time-honoured way by 5pm Friday."

Lord Newby, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, added: “I don’t think that carrying on through 24 or 48 hours as we have been doing in a sort of pathetic attempt to set a new Guinness world record … would do anybody any favours.”