Lords Brexit bill debate enters second day

The House of Lords' debate on the Brexit bill has entered its second day, with 190 peers expected to speak on the European Union (Notification Of Withdrawal) Bill's second reading during the debate.

The legislation would allow the Prime Minister to trigger the formal two-year Brexit process and has already cleared the Commons unamended with big majorities,

However, the Government does not have an in-built majority in the upper chamber and a number of peers are believed to be ready to rewrite the Bill.

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Article 50 lawyer: Vote promise must be in legislation

Lord Pannick outside the Supreme Court while representing Gina Miller. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister's promise of a parliamentary vote on the proposed Brexit deal should be written into legislation, the lawyer who led the successful legal battle against the Government has insisted.

Speaking during the House of Lords Brexit bill debate, Lord Pannick, who represented the lead claimant, Gina Miller, in the Article 50 case, argued a political commitment was no substitute for an obligation in law, pointing out that circumstances, including Prime Ministers, could change.

Lord Pannick also stressed it should be for Parliament to decide if there was to be a deal or not.

During his speech Lord Pannick praised Ms Miller, who along with other campaigners won the historic legal action in the Supreme Court "in the face of quite outrageous racist and sexist abuse", which led to a declaration that Parliament must authorise the triggering of Brexit.

Lord Pannick also stressed the Lords' need to "scrutinise a Bill of enormous importance to the future of this country", adding the bill required "amendment".

Labour peer: Leave campaign made 'false promises'

Lord Livermore believes the Brexit campaign misled the public. Credit: House of Lords

The Brexit campaign made "false promises and false assurances, specifically designed to deceive", Labour peer Lord Livermore has claimed, adding he will oppose the Brexit bill.

The former adviser to both the Blair and Brown governments' claims came during the House of Lords second day of debating the Brexit bill.

Lord Livermore continued that the Government's "clear goal is an offshore small state Britain" that would mean less money for the NHS and a reduction in the rights of British workers, following the vote to leave the EU.

"I have no doubt this vision of Britain as a mid-Atlantic Singapore is strongly supported by hardline ideologues in the Conservative Party and in some sections of the media.

"But I equally have no doubt they would never have won the referendum had they been honest enough to articulate that beforehand.

"The verdict of the referendum has now become so distorted as to be unrecognisable...

"I believe that working people's lives will be made worse by this Bill.

"I believe that those who voted for Brexit in the greatest numbers will be those that suffer the most from the outcome."

As a result it was with a "clear conscience" that Lord Livermore said he would oppose the Bill and its "profoundly damaging effect on this country".


Lord Butler: Consult public on final Brexit deal

Lord Butler of Brockwell wants the public to be consulted on the final Brexit deal. Credit: House of Lords

Former cabinet secretary Lord Butler of Brockwell said he backs an amendment calling for the public to be consulted again on the Government's final Brexit deal.

Lord Butler's comments came as the Lords debated the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill for the second day.

Lord Butler said that while he accepts Britain is leaving the single market to regain control of immigration, a final deal should be put to the people.

Lord Butler said: "Is the outcome of last June's referendum to be interpreted as meaning that a majority of the United Kingdom want to leave the EU whatever the terms? The Government clearly thinks so.

"But on a matter of this importance has not the Government a duty to be sure before our departure becomes final?

"My lords, one has to ask why those who base their arguments for Brexit on the will of the people are now opposed to consulting the people on the outcome of the negotiations.

"One has to suspect that they fear that they will get a different answer. If so, we ought to know."

Darling: Government must not get 'blank Brexit cheque'

Lord Darling of Roulanish warned against a 'blank cheque' for Brexit. Credit: House of Lords

Former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has said the EU referendum result must be accepted, but ruled out giving the Government a "blank cheque".

Lord Darling of Roulanish's comments came as the House of Lords debated the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill for the second day.

The legislation, which would allow Theresa May to trigger the formal two-year Brexit process, has already cleared the Commons unamended with big majorities.

During his speech Lord Darling said none of the negotiations could be conducted in secret, since with 27 other countries involved there would be a running commentary every day.

"Let's be grown-up about it. Let's engage positively," Lord Darling said.

"From the Brexiteers and Government point of view, they have to accept there is a large section of the population in this country, a large membership in the Lords and the Commons, who won't accept some of the extreme arguments being put forward and think the voice of reason must prevail for the good of our country."

Lord Darling also warned the "middle ground of British politics" had been abandoned, adding: "That's a very dangerous place for us to be."

Lord Alli: No trust in government's Brexit ministers

Lord Waheed Alli has said he does not trust cabinet members Boris Johnson, David Davis or Liam Fox to successfully negotiate a good deal for Britain.

But the Labour peer and former Planet 24 boss, confessed that he "liked" Prime Minister Theresa May, and acknowledged that the admission might make him unpopular with members of his own party.

"I equally do not trust [foreign secretary] Boris Johnson, [Brexit chief] David Davis or [trade secretary] Liam Fox to successfully negotiate a good deal with the EU, or any other nation," he said.

"I have no confidence that they have the skills, understanding and competence to do such a deal."

Peers voice concerns in Brexit bill debate

Members of the House of Lords have raised a series of concerns about the Government's Brexit bill, and with around 190 peers expected to speak on the legislation there may still be many more.

ITV News political correspondent Libby Wiener reports:


Lord Lawson warns against delaying Brexit bill

Lord Lawson of Blaby has warned against "improper" amending of the Brexit bill, earning him dissenting grumbles from the opposition benches.

Lord Lawson warned that delays would only prolong uncertainty for British businesses.

Some opposition peers were heard to shout "shame" when he said amendments already tabled did not seek to amend the Bill's provisions but would "add to them substantially and perhaps delay the Bill".

He said: "In the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves, I have to say that were the House to entertain any of the amendments it would have embarked on an ill-advised, improper and fundamentally unconstitutional manoeuvre."

Mandelson: I voted to remain because I am a patriot

The Labour peer argued that Britain would be worse outside the EU

Former EU commissioner Lord Mandelson has said he did not vote to stay in the bloc because of his pension rights but because he was "a patriot".

The Labour peer, who served as business secretary, also argued that Britain would be worse outside the EU, saying that claims the UK would enjoy the same trade benefits after breaking with Brussels amounted to "a fraud on the public".

He said that those who voted to leave the EU had not voted "to turn Britain into a poorer, politically isolated offshore tax haven, without reach or influence in the world".

"And once they see the consequences they may, and I stress may, want to think again about the outcome of the government's chosen path and Parliament's job will be to reflect that change of view and create the means of expressing it," he said.

Hague hits out at Blair's 'rise up' call in Brexit debate

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair's call to "rise up" to fight Brexit was "a great mistake", William Hague has said during his speech in the House of Lords Brexit bill debate.

The former foreign secretary - who said that although he voted against leaving the EU he now planned to back the government's bill - used his speech to criticise Mr Blair's comments.

Noting that Mr Blair had defeated him in the 2001 general election, Mr Hague said: "If nine months after that [election] I had asked people to rise up against the result, Mr Blair would not have been very amused ... he would have told me to listen to the voters."

Mr Blair called for Remain voters to "rise up" during a speech made to the pro-European campaign group Open Britain last week.

Bishop of Southwark warns against ignoring Remain vote

The Bishop of Southwark has warned that ignoring Remain voters risks causing resentment and instituting a "regional divide", as the House of Lords debate on the Brexit Bill.

The Rt Rev Christopher Chessun it was the view of many bishops that the Bill should not be amended.

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