Government promises robust response after Lords defeat over Brexit plans

Lord Callanan

Gerard Batten, who was elected as UKIP leader in April, called for the House of Lords to be abolished following the seventh Lords defeat for government over the European Union withdrawal bill.

Fox said on Tuesday: "I think there's a very big debate now about whether the unelected house can actually thwart the view of the British electorate in a referendum and ... legislation coming from the House of Commons".

Parliament will effectively has the power to stop the UK's exit from the union, as it can indefinitely force PM May back to negotiations with the EU, in addition to voting down a "hard Brexit" proposal.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We can't have a situation where the clearly expressed will of the people in a referendum is thwarted by effectively procedural devices that would keep us in the European Union indefinitely".

Earlier, May's trade minister, Liam Fox, accused the unelected peers in the upper house of "trying to block the democratic will of the British people".

"I don't think there is a customs union that could ever be acceptable", he added.




European Union members' views on the issue of United Kingdom financial firms' access to the single market were not uniform, however, he said, emphasising that each member state has different interests in the Brexit outcome. "That is not what the public voted for".

"The prime minister said when the bill returns to the House of Commons, the government will be robust".

"This is not. about creating a constitutional crisis, nor is it about asking the Commons [the lower house] to take on the negotiations.it is to ask the Commons and Parliament to decide whether the outcome of the negotiations is good enough", said Dianne Hayter, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokeswoman.

Theresa May is approaching crunch point on how Britain wants to approach customs arrangements after Brexit, with mounting pressure from Brussels and Ireland, divisions among cabinet ministers and a rebellion among Tory MPs in parliament.

The government has committed to giving Parliament a vote on the final deal, but has framed this as a choice between accepting the terms it has negotiated with Brussels and rejecting them and leaving without a deal.

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