House of Lords defeat UK Government twice over Brexit Bill

The House of Lords has defeated the UK Government twice over the Internal Market Bill.

Last night peers voted down another two provisions of the controversial Bill that critics say allows Westminster to "shackle" devolved administrations as powers are returned from Brussels.

They voted 367 to 209 on Wednesday to reject an amendment that would allow Westminster to unilaterally impose rules and standards for the goods and services to let them flow freely across the UK, while bypassing the views of the devolved governments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Independent crossbencher Lord Hope of Craighead, who proposed the amendment, said: “The question was whether the devolved nations should continue to be free to develop and apply market policies within their devolution mandate, which has secured agreement under the common frameworks process, or whether that freedom should be brushed aside as this Bill really seeks to do.

Peers twice defeated the Government over the Brexit legislation last nightPeers twice defeated the Government over the Brexit legislation last night
Peers twice defeated the Government over the Brexit legislation last night

“It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that this Government really regards devolution as an inconvenience which can simply be ignored when it wants to. I regret that very much indeed.

“I am afraid we see here an uncompromising, careless and centralist-style of government, which divides our United Kingdom into pieces at a time when harmony is most needed."

Read More
Mike Russell urges UK Government to drop ‘flawed’ Brexit Bill after crushing Lor...

Tory former solicitor general Lord Garnier even warned the Bill could “encourage and even hasten the break-up of the UK”.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Randerson said: “This Bill strikes quite deliberately at the whole basis of devolution.

"It is designed to roll-back devolution and I warn the Government that their tactics are dangerous and they are playing with fire.”

Labour frontbencher Lord Stevenson of Balmacara added: “It can be argued that what this Bill is actually about is gathering powers which should be devolved to an insensitive centre which is trying to imprison a multinational country ... into a straitjacket of a unitary state.

“We can and need to do better than that.”

Peers also voted by 327 to 223 to curb ministers' powers to rewrite parts of the Bill at a later stage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last week peers defeated the Government over plans to allow the UK to override parts of the withdrawal agreement that apply to Northern Ireland.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.