Theresa May narrowly saw off a defeat yesterday as MPs voted against a House of Lords amendment that would have given parliament the power to go back and renegotiate the Brexit deal with Brussels if MPs found it unacceptable.
The amendments were seen off by a majority of 324 to 298, with senior Remainer Dominic Grieve withdrawing his own amendment which would have given MPs powers to dictate what to do if no deal is reached by February 2019.
House of Lords crossbencher Lord Digby Jones called the negotiations “tyranny”, and said the “Remoaners” were, by succeeding in getting the Prime Minister to agree to working with the pro-EU lobby, were still effectively trying to block Brexit.
“Just beware the tyranny of parliament,” he said.
“You’ve got something like 1,500 people in the houses of parliament who look by majority to be overruling the wishes of 17.2 million people. You’ve got to ensure there’s a representation aspect to it and not a personal view.”
Listen to Lord Digby Jones on the Julia Hartley-Brewer show above
If the amendments set out a plan to remain in the customs union, he said, the UK could be under the rule of Brussels.
“If the meaning of it is that you stay in a customs union or single market, that means… you have to position it so Brussels can negotiate your trade deals around the world, you don’t have any say in it anymore.
“What [Remainers] wanted more than anything else was some form of control. What they’re going to get, because of the tyranny of parliament, is a position where the vote has been observed, Remoaners can say ‘I’ve done what you said, I’ve respected you’.
“But we’d become vassal state of an unelected, unaccountable state in Brussels. I don’t think even Remoaners want that.”
The government rejected the assertion that MPs would be able to influence the negotiations.
"The Brexit Secretary has set out three tests that any new amendment has to meet - not undermining the negotiations, not changing the constitutional role of Parliament and Government in negotiating international treaties, and respecting the referendum result,” a spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said.
"We have not, and will not, agree to the House of Commons binding the Government's hands in the negotiations."