Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 19, 2018

Report From The House Of Disgrace

The House of Lords folded yesterday on all but one of their amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill that the House of Commons had rejected last week. So gone is the amendment to try and force the UK to stay in the Single Market, there is an end to attempts to make the Government seek membership of a customs union with the EU, and Exit Day remains set in stone on the face of the Bill.

But, as expected, peers did insist on defying the Government in one area, passing the so-called ‘meaningful vote’ amendment conceived by Dominic Grieve and promoted in the Lords by Viscount Hailsham (who had last come to public attention as the MP Douglas Hogg on account of his moat cleaning costs during the MPs’ expenses scandal). The terms of the amendment – which Hogg termed ‘Grieve 2’ – would require the Government to allow MPs to vote on how it should proceed in the absence of a Brexit deal as of 21st January next year.

The Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, reiterated that “the Government cannot demonstrate the flexibility necessary for a successful negotiation if they are beholden so directly to the House of Commons”. But peers voted for the amendment all the same, by 354 votes to 235 (the fourth largest turnout in a single Lords division in recorded history).

The key moment in the debate came when Tory peer and Leave-backer Lord Robathan challenged Hailsham as to whether he had worked with the Opposition on his amendment and asked whether his true intention was “at all costs to destroy Brexit”. Hansard does not record the remark, but you can clearly hear one peer shout “you are an idiot” at Robathan while he is asking the question; and as for Lord Hailsham’s response, he spits out that he makes no apology for having negotiations with the Opposition Front Bench while admitting he doesn’t believe in Brexit and that it will be “a national calamity”.

The only meaningful vote was the national referendum . The “national calamity” is the continued existence of the House of Lords by its inclusion in the democratic process. 


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