Peers inflicted yet another defeat on the Government’s Brexit legislation today as they demanded Britain stay in EU agencies after quitting the bloc.
The Lords voted to 298 to 227 in favour of the latest change, seen by Brexiteers as an attempt to bind the UK into the EU single market.
The defeat is the eleventh inflicted by the House of Lords on Theresa May’s flagship legislation.
A more damaging defeat is expected tonight as peers bid to strip the official date of Brexit – March 29, 2019 – off the face of the legislation.
All of the amendments passed by peers will return to the Commons in the coming weeks with ministers expected to order MPs to overturn them.
A major fight is expected over a crucial amendment stripping Theresa May of her powers to walk away from talks without a deal. Remain supporters believe there are enough Tory rebels to defend it in the Commons in what would be a major blow to the PM’s authority.
Proposing the change to the flagship Brexit legislation, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, lashed out at Brexiteers for condemning all those seeking to change the bill as ‘a hypocritical remoaner intent on sabotaging the Bill and trying to prevent Brexit from ever happening’.
He told peers: ‘I regret the referendum result but I accept that the UK is to leave even on this 73rd anniversary of VE Day.
‘My concern … is to ask the Government seriously to consider improvements to the Bill in order both that the people should be clear about the how as well as the what of Brexit, and that the transition to a final arrangement might be as good as we can get it.’