United Kingdom government's plans on European Union rights defeated in upper house of parliament

Apr 24, 2018, 10:53
United Kingdom government's plans on European Union rights defeated in upper house of parliament

In the Lords last Wednesday, the Government was defeated by 348 votes to 225 over an amendment calling on ministers to negotiate a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

Shadow Brexit minister Paul Bloomfield said: "This is a welcome decision from the House of Lords".

Theresa May is facing a fresh Brexit showdown in the Commons this week over her stance on the customs union.

On the other hand the United Kingdom could decide to leave the EU VAT system entirely which the committee said is likely to mean "new and substantial-barriers to trade".

"A vote for this amendment would be a vote of no confidence in this parliament and in this House". May could threaten to ask parliament to call an election if she loses a vote on the customs union, or she could threaten to resign.

The move would put pressure on pro-EU MPs to fall in behind Mrs May to avoid setting in train a chain of events which could result in the government falling.

"That report was an absolute mystery to me and I note that it quickly disappeared from the bulletins", the spokesman said.

The Sunday Times reports that Downing Street has privately admitted the Prime Minister may have to accept some form of customs union with the EU.

Downing Street insisted the government's position had not changed since Mrs May delivered her Mansion House speech in March.

Inside the EU, Britain was an influential player and shaped.

The spokesman said: "We think both of the two options which we have put forward can provide solutions to the Irish border and to having a smooth customs arrangement with the European Union".

Mrs May will face the concerns of pro-European MPs on Thursday, following a massive defeat in the House of Lords.

The vote amounts to the third major defeat for the Prime Minister over her flagship Brexit bill in less than a week.

But she said arrangements which are as "frictionless as possible" with the European Union and the ability to sign trade arrangements with other countries were both achievable under the government's proposals.

On a visit to a firm in the West Midlands, she told the BBC: "Coming out of the customs union means that we will be free to have those deals, deals that suit the UK".

"I pointed out the businesses based in Middletown who trade on both sides of the border before we visited the Middletown Centre for Autism which is jointly funded by the Department for Education in Northern Ireland and the Department for Education and Skills based in Dublin", he said.

Peers voted by 316 votes to 245 for a cross-party amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that aims to retain the so-called Charter of Fundamental Rights even after the United Kingdom quits the bloc in 2019.

Ten Tory peers backed the amendment in defiance of the Government, including former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and former ministers Lord Patten of Barnes and Lord Willetts.

The independent crossbencher Lord Pannick accused ministers of acting for purely "doctrinal" reasons.

Lord Richard Keen argued that retaining the charter would open Britain up to influence by "foreign law" that could to lead to "constitutional outrage".

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