EU Withdrawal Bill – House of Lords 18 June 2018

On the 18th June 2018, Lords debated the EU Withdrawal Bill following its return to the House of Lords as part of the “ping-pong” stage.

Folowing debate and votes, there are now 4 outstanding amendments to the Bill which will be returned to the Commons for consideration on 20 June 2018.

The only amendment which is likely to go to a vote will be on the “meaningful vote” amendment.

The Lords voted 354-235 in favour of this amendment, Motion F3 aka Grieve II, by Viscount Hailsham tabled on behalf of Dominic Grieve.

This was an amendment which reflected the agreement Conservative backbenchers thought they had reached with the Government. It says that, if Parliament rejects the deal brought back from Brussels, then the Commons will vote on a motion to approve a statement made by a minister setting out what the Government plans to do next. If no deal is reached with the EU by 21 January 2019, then a minister must make a statement setting out how the Government plans to proceed and the Commons must approve this statement in a motion.

Editors Comment

Some thoughts …

There does appear to be an anti-Brext sentiment prevailing in the House of Lords as evidenced during the debate on this amendment

The Proposer of the amendment Viscount Hailsham said:

“I do not believe in Brexit, that is perfectly true. I think it is a national calamity.”

Current thinking is that the Government will strongly resist the amendment.

Dominic Grieve claims that he “does not wish to delay or frustrate Brexit”, and then visits the European Commission for a meeting with Alistair Campbell and other anti-brexit campaigners

Grieve recently said, on BBC One’s Sunday Politics program, when asked if voting against the government could eventually bring it down “We could collapse the government and I can assure you I wake up at 2am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders.”

It is unclear if the Government is defeated on this amendment, whether a vote of no confidence could take place. An alternative if this happened, could be for the PM to resign and/or call for a General Election.

In my opinion, I think it highly possible that there will be a General Election called before the UK leaves the EU. Is the recent announcement of increased funding for the NHS partly funded from the non-payment of membership fees to the EU club, an attempt to sweeten a posible General Election in the Autumn?

Have preparations started in case of a no-deal Brexit ? (If they haven’t already started 2 years ago !! ). The apparent intransigence of the EU negotiators indicates a lack of negotiating in “good faith” and they appear to dictate rather than negotiate terms for the Withdrawal from and Future relationship between the UK and EU there is a strong possibility that a deal will not be reached.