REMOANERS DEFEATED: Government BEATS pro-Remain peers’ demand for SECOND Brexit referendum

Europhile peers had attempted to add an amendment to the Government’s Article 50 Bill this afternoon calling for a public vote on the terms of the Prime Minister’s final Brexit agreement.But peers overwhelmingly rejected the demand with 336 voting against the amendment and only 131 supporting it.

The amendment to the proposed Article 50 legislation had been brought by Lord Newby, Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords, along with Labour peer Lord Hain and Conservative peer Baroness Wheatcroft.

Liberal Democrat peers, having failed to secure the amendment on the demand for another referendum, will now vote against the Article 50 Bill at its third reading in the House of Lords later tonight.

Lord Newby said: “The people started the process of Brexit and it is only right that they are given a say on the final deal.

“Today the Government have confirmed that the Brexit deal will be finalised behind closed doors in Westminster. This is not accountable, this is not democracy, and that is why the Liberal Democrats cannot support this Bill.

“Theresa May is driving Britain towards a hard Brexit which wasn’t on the ballot paper and which no one voted for. The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.”

During the debate on the amendment, the Archbishop of Canterbury had warned a second referendum on the final Brexit deal would add to the nation’s divisions and “deepen the bitterness”.The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “The referendum campaign and its aftermath revealed deep divisions in our societies. So how we conduct this process is as important as the outcome itself.

“I believe it would be both dangerous and unwise and wrong to reduce the substance of the terms on which we exit the European Union to the result of a binary yes-no choice taken last summer.

“And the Government should avoid any inclination to oversimplify the outcome of the most complex peacetime negotiations, probably ever.

“But neither is the complexity of a further referendum a good way of dealing with the process at the end of negotiation.

“It will add to our divisions, it will deepen the bitterness. It is not democratic. It is unwise.

“Even if circumstances change … even if they change drastically, a dangerous and over-complicated process is the result of a referendum.”

PARLIAMENT.TV     The Archbishop of Canterbury warned against a second referendum

People knew what they were voting for – they were voting to leave the EU.

Conservative Lord Robathan

Putting forward his case for the amendment, Lord Newby had said his argument for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal was “based on the principle that having asked the people whether they wished to initiate the Brexit process, only the people should take the final decision”.Fellow backer Lord Hain claimed Leave voters he spoke to during the referendum campaign “were voting against something, they were voting against the European Union, but they were not voting in favour of anything”.

He added: “The Leave campaign left the alternative deliberately ambiguous.”

The former Labour minister insisted the amendment was “not about re-running” the June 23 vote but “about making sure that the democratic process remains democratic”.

House of LordsPARLIAMENT.TV    The House of Lords voted against the demand for a second EU referendum

Tory peer Baroness Wheatcroft said: “Although I am not an advocate of government by referendum, in this situation, having started the process with a referendum, it seems to me the only sensible way to bring the process to an end is to put the terms to the public.”But fellow Conservative Lord Robathan said the first referendum had presented a clear “binary choice” which must be respected.

He said: “People knew what they were voting for – they were voting to leave the EU.

“And, my lords, it is unbecoming and very patronising of people to attribute to the individuals in this nation the reasons for which they voted.

Ukip’s Lord Pearson of Rannoch warned that to vote down the will of the British people showed a “contempt for democracy”.

The House of Lords will debate further amendments on the Article 50 Bill later today, with it expected peers could yet be successful in adding a condition to the legislation over a demand for Parliament to have a ‘meaningful’ vote on the final Brexit deal.

Last week, the House of Lords attached an amendment over the rights’ of EU nationals currently living in the UK.

The Government has signalled it will fight to wipe out any House of Lords amendments when the Article 50 Bill returns to the House of Commons later this month.

MPs previously passed the Bill – designed to hand the Prime Minister the power to formally notify Brussels of Britain’s EU departure – without any amendments attached.

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