MPs to reconsider Brexit deal amendments after Lords defeats

The Tory majority will likely overturn the defeat

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will return to the House of Commons for further scrutiny today after the government suffered five defeats in the House of Lords.

Peers backed two opposition-led amendments and rejected three from the government as they debated the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) this week.

They voted overwhelmingly in favour of ensuring the rights of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK after Brexit and narrowly backed a move that commits the government to the Sewel Convention.

This means the UK Parliament “will not normally” legislate for devolved matters without the consent of the devolved legislature affected.

Earlier in the week the government was also defeated over rights of EU workers legally in the UK to have physical proof of their right to remain.

The House of Lords debating the Prime Minister's Brexit Bill

In yet more defiance, peers also rejected amendments over the power of British courts to depart from judgements made in the European Court of Justice and voted that cases should be referred to the Supreme Court before departing from EU case law.

As Brexit day on January 31 approaches, the Bill, which was passed with large majorities by MPs, will have to return to the Commons for further scrutiny today.

Up to an hour has been allocated for the debate, but Mr Johnson will likely be able to overturn the defeats with his 80-strong Conservative majority.

If he does so, the Lords could continue the parliamentary ping-pong or bow to the will of the elected house.

Opposition and crossbench peers have insisted their objections were not an attempt to stop Brexit but rather to ensure legislation was better drafted.

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