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Government defeated by Lords for ‘meaningful vote’ amendment

Government defeated by Lords for ‘meaningful vote’ amendment

The government has been defeated by the House of Lords in a landslide vote of 354 to 235- holding a majority of 119 votes over the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment of the Brexit Bill.

The Lords voted in favour of the new amendment this time compared to the previous attempt.

Parliament’s passing of the amendment means that MPs will have a ‘meaningful vote’ whether or not the government fails to agree on a Brexit plan. If there is no Brexit plan, the MPs will have to vote on what action the government should take in order to finalise their deal with the EU.

Due to this, the issue will be sent back to the House of Commons to be raised in PMQs on Wednesday.

Some believe that Parliament should interfere in the Brexit deal negotiations in case the UK leaves the EU with no deal. On the other hand however, others believe that this would only undermine the power of the UK government.

Last week, prime minister Theresa May had tried to reach a compromise that would satisfy both sides but this only caused more problems within Parliament as many deemed it “unacceptable”.

Conservative cabinet minister Lord Halisham stated that Brexit was indeed a “national calamity” and "In order to safeguard our nation's vital interests, in the event that there be no deal on the table, Parliament should have the authority to intervene”.

Lord Halisham also described the new amendment as “Grieve Two” referring to the previous attempt of creating an amendment earlier last week which was deemed “unacceptable” by Attorney general Dominic Grieve who wanted Parliament to have a “meaningful vote” over the Brexit deal.

The latest amendment will apply in the following instances:

  • if the majority of MPs disagree with the devised Brexit deal
  • if the prime minister Theresa May says that no agreement has been reached by the 21st of January 2019

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