MPs vote to scrap ALL House of Lords amendments to Article 50 Bill

MPs tonight voted to scrap both House of Lords’ amendments to the Article 50 Bill – leaving unelected peers with the fate of the Brexit-triggering legislation in their hands once more.

Peers had demanded the Government publish proposals for guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK after Brexit, as well as calling for a ‘meaningful’ vote on the final Brexit deal.The House of Lords had attached the two conditions to the short 137-word Article 50 Bill, which is designed to hand the Prime Minister the legal power to trigger EU divorce talks.But the House of Commons overturned both amendments tonight in two separate votes.

There were no Tory rebels.Critics had branded the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment an attempt to hand Parliament an effective veto over Brexit at the end of the two-year Article 50 timetable.Tory MP Anna Soubry, a Remain supporter, described the decision to scrap the demand for a parliamentary vote on the final Brexit deal a “disappointing result for anyone who recognises the vital importance of parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit”.

The Browtowe MP, a supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said: “As we embark upon the most complex set of negotiations our country has ever faced, it would have been greatly preferable to have guaranteed a meaningful vote for MPs at the end of the process.

“I hope the Government recognises the importance of parliamentary scrutiny as the Brexit process gets underway in earnest.

“As we go forward, it is now up to MPs and people across the country to continue to campaign against the kind of hard Brexit that will damage our economy.”

House of CommonsPARLIAMENT.TV    MPs voted to scrap the House of Lords amendment

These amendments will undermine the Government’s position in the negotiations

David Davis

Earlier MPs had also voted in favour of scrapping the amendment over the rights of EU nationals by 335 to 287, a majority of 48.Two Tory rebels – Alex Chalk and Dr Tania Mathias – voted against the Government, joining Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats in opposition to the motion.The Article 50 Bill will now tonight return to the House of Lords for a second time, although it is expected peers will not seek to re-add amendments to the proposed legislation and will pass the Bill.

It is understood Labour peers will abstain on the Article 50 Bill in the House of Lords later to weaken the chances of a Government defeat.

If the House of Lords passes the Bill, the Queen will then be ready to sign the Brexit-triggering legislation into law as early as tomorrow morning.

But, if peers do defeat the Government in the House of Lords again, the Bill would then be sent back to the House of Commons for a third time in an ongoing process dubbed ‘ping pong’.

Theresa May has promised to trigger Article 50 by the end of this month.

The Government have insisted they cannot offer a guarantee over the rights of EU nationals until a reciprocal agreement is reached on the fate of British expats living on the Continent, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel has so far blocked.Ministers have warned any amendments to the Article Bill could weaken Theresa May’s hand in EU exit negotiations.In the debate prior to tonight’s votes, Brexit Secretary David Davis had told MPs: “These amendments will undermine the Government’s position in the negotiations to get the best possible deal for Britain and that can’t be in the national interest.”

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