What happens if the House of Lords votes against Brexit?
MPs have overwhelming voted for the Brexit bill – the legislation that will allow the Government to trigger Article 50 and start Brexit talks.
Pro-EU members of the House of Lords now have their chance to vote against the bill in a bid to block Britain’s exit from the EU.
But unelected peers are only too aware that any attempt to frustrate Brexit would prompt national outcry and political chaos.
A Government source warned: “If the Lords don’t want to face an overwhelming public call to be abolished, they must get on, protect democracy and pass this bill.”
Stephen Booth, director of policy and research at Open Europe, said that it would be “politically explosive” for the Lords to be seen to be blocking Brexit.
Mr Booth said that peers are very unlikely to reject bill outright because they know that it would “spark a constitutional crisis” and possibly a general election.
“The potential outcome would be forcing the Government to go to an election with a mandate to enact Brexit,” he said.
Instead of calling an election, the Commons could also invoke the 1911 Parliament Act in order to overrule the Lords and push through the bill.
This little-used act is seen as a nuclear option but it means that the Lords no longer has the power to indefinitely block legislation.
REMOANERS: These people hate BREXIT!
Mon, January 16, 2017
Remainers are finding it hard to accept Brexit.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
1 of 14
The overwhelming vote for the Brexit bill in the Commons last night puts more pressure on the Lords to pass the legislation swiftly.
Brexit Secretary David Davis called on the House of Lords to "do its job and to do its patriotic duty and actually give us the right to go on and negotiate that new relationship".
Mr Booth said that there is not the “appetite to frustrate Brexit” but peers could make amendments along the lines of those suggested in the Commons.
If the Commons refuses to approve the amendments, then the bill could end up ‘ping-ponging’ between the two Houses.
The Government might be forced to make further concessions in order to get the bill passed before its Article 50 deadline at the end of March.