House of Lords offers challenge to Boris Johnson as it moves to block No Deal Brexit 

Boris Johnson faces a stiff challenge if he tries to shut down Parliament after becoming prime minister to pass a No Deal Brexit after a heavy defeat for the Government tonight.

Labour peers joined Liberal Democrats and leading independent crossbenchers in the Lords to try to thwart such a ‘constitutional outrage’ by amending Northern Ireland legislation.

The bid to block Parliament being suspended to force was backed by 272 votes to 169, a majority of 103.

Mr Johnson, the Conservative Party leadership front-runner, has repeatedly refused to rule out proroguing Parliament to ensure Britain leaves the EU on October 31. 

Reports this week suggested he could call a new Queen’s Speech for November, which would cause Parliament not to sit across the end of October. 

The change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill agreed by the Lords will require progress reports on restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland to be debated regularly in Parliament, effectively preventing it being prorogued.

Mr Johnson, the Conservative Party leadership front-runner, has repeatedly refused to rule out proroguing Parliament to ensure Britain leaves the EU on October 31

Mr Johnson, the Conservative Party leadership front-runner, has repeatedly refused to rule out proroguing Parliament to ensure Britain leaves the EU on October 31

Mr Johnson, the Conservative Party leadership front-runner, has repeatedly refused to rule out proroguing Parliament to ensure Britain leaves the EU on October 31

Former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Anderson of Ipswich said the amendment would require Parliament to sit at specified intervals between September and December

Former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Anderson of Ipswich said the amendment would require Parliament to sit at specified intervals between September and December

Former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Anderson of Ipswich said the amendment would require Parliament to sit at specified intervals between September and December

Former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Anderson of Ipswich said the amendment would require Parliament to sit at specified intervals between September and December.

‘If Parliament were to endorse a no-deal Brexit, as it has not done to date, there can be no democratic argument against it,’ he said.

‘But for that decision to be left to our next prime minister elevated to that office by members of his own party and freed of any requirement to obtain the consent of Parliament would be another matter altogether.

‘Before the beginning of the current leadership campaign, the notion that prorogation might be used for the express purpose of silencing Parliament on Brexit could safely have been dismissed as fantasy.

‘But that prospect has not been disavowed by the leading candidate and, if reports are to be believed, cannot even now be ruled out.’

Lord Anderson warned that if Britain was ‘driven over the cliff’ on October 31 there was no way back up.

Lord Newby, Liberal Democrat leader in the Lords, said it was a ‘constitutional outrage’ for a potential prime minister to refuse to rule out proroguing Parliament ‘to get through the most major public policy decision of our lifetimes’.

Lord Newby said Mr Johnson knew he could not win such a vote in the Commons, adding: ‘This is the activities of a banana republic, not the mother of parliaments.

‘We should do everything we can, however strange, to try to stop it. This is a clever, ingenious device and has our full support.’

But independent crossbencher Baroness Deech warned the move would set an ‘unfortunate precedent’ which could have far-reaching repercussions.

And Tory Lord True said the amendment should be rejected because it was clearly designed to frustrate Brexit.

Lord True said a Remainer majority in the Lords wished to stop at nothing to prevent Brexit, adding: ‘I fear the Lords is getting itself into a worse and worse place by resisting Brexit, and the very future of the House is now in play.’

Branding the move a piece of ‘parliamentary chicanery’, he said Mr Johnson had never said he would prorogue Parliament and the charge was ‘all got up’ by Remainers.

For Labour, Lord Goldsmith said it would be ‘constitutionally improper and wrong in principle to suspend Parliament in order to push through the final stages of the Brexit arrangements without Parliament being in a position to oversee, comment or effectively have any role in that’.

Lord Goldsmith said it would be ‘grossly wrong’ and a ‘perversion of our constitutional traditions and irresponsible’ to prevent Parliament from having its say.

The change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill agreed by the Lords will require debates regularly in Parliament, effectively preventing it being prorogued

The change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill agreed by the Lords will require debates regularly in Parliament, effectively preventing it being prorogued

The change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill agreed by the Lords will require debates regularly in Parliament, effectively preventing it being prorogued

He warned against the new prime minister taking a ‘royalist approach as King Charles did’, insisting it was for Parliament to safeguard Britain’s freedoms.

Northern Ireland minister Lord Duncan of Springbank called for the amendment to be withdrawn, saying the Bill had a simple purpose to provide more time to get a new assembly up and running.

Lord Duncan warned it would send a message to the people of Northern Ireland that ‘we can use Northern Ireland for different purposes when we choose to do so’ if the amendment was passed.

Later analysis of the voting list showed that 13 Conservatives backed the winning amendment, which will be considered by MPs tomorrow (Thursday).

They included former ministers Viscount Hailsham, Lord Willetts and Baroness Altmann.

 

link

(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply