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May's Brexit Law Hits the Lords, Where Opposition Seeks Changes

Baroness Evans, leader of the House of Lords, opened the debate, calling on the House of Lords to respect the primacy of the House of Commons as well as the decision of the people of Britain in the referendum.

The House of Lords will start debating the Article 50 bill on Monday with amendments tabled to guarantee the rights of European Union citizens in the United Kingdom, for greater scrutiny on the process and for a "meaningful vote" at the end of Brexit negotiations.

The House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber in the British Parliament, are seeking to delay and amend the Brexit bill passed in the elected House of Commons.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have tabled 10 amendments between them, including a guarantee on the rights of EU citizens and giving Parliament a second vote before plans are presented to the European Parliament.

But ministers face the real prospect of defeat to the Bill in the Upper Chamber, where the Conservatives occupy only 252 of the 805 places.

The House of Lords is not expected to want to be seen frustrating the referendum result, so if the Commons rejects any amendments it puts forward, it may not push to reinstate them.

May would like to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March.

The House of Lords will be debating the bill tomorrow.

Peers are again expected to debate late into the night on Tuesday.

But Hill said the government needed to prove "consistency and clarity" to Brussels partners, and that while it was right and proper that parliament "applies this pressure [and] scrutinizes" the government, it should not have the power to block a deal. She warned colleagues not to try to "restrict the government's hand before it enters into complex negotiations or attempt to re-run the referendum".

We do need a revising chamber to scrutinise vital bills like this.

Lord Waheed Alli has said he does not trust cabinet members Boris Johnson, David Davis or Liam Fox to successfully negotiate a good deal for Britain.

Lords debate the final wording of the bill and may make and vote on further amendments.

"The anger of those who wanted to leave is now matched by the growing anger of those who wish to remain - particularly young people".

The senior Conservative said: "I would advise the House of Lords to think very carefully before amending a bill that has a very clear single objective that was agreed by the people of this country only a few months ago". But given that the Article 50 bill is of such huge constitutional importance, those voting on it should be chosen by voters themselves.



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