If peers cannot agree over the Brexit Bill the House of Commons will be forced to use the Parliament Act to pass it without their consent – but only after 12 months has passed.
The Prime Minister would then be unable to start Britain’s exit negotiations until March 2018. The loophole emerged as peers expressed concern over the Brexit timeline.
The House of Lords could force Theresa May to delay triggering Article 50 for a year
Baroness Altmann, who voted Remain, said that while her colleagues respected the result of the Referendum and the supremacy of the Commons, many felt the debate was being “rushed”.
The former pensions minister said: “The role of the Lords is to scrutinise and advise the Commons.
The Lords surely has a role to play and there are many across all parties who are concerned at the rushed timetable.
The House of Lords
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“We can only advise as the Lords doesn’t make final decisions but it is supposed to be a scrutinising chamber and many feel this is being hurried through.”
The role of the Lords is to scrutinise and advise the Commons
Labour Lords leader Angela Smith added: “Notwithstanding the truncated timetable imposed by the Government, we will treat it as we do all primary legislation, giving it due and proper scrutiny.”
Peers are concerned about Britain’s single market access post-Brexit and the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Baroness Altmann who voted Remain
Lord Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords, said: “Many Tories recognise that leaving the single market threatens jobs and growth.“
But this has been Theresa May’s choice which they should now join us in challenging in the Lords.” Since MPs voted on the second reading on Wednesday the Bill has entered the committee stage for further debate in the Commons tomorrow and Tuesday.
Many parties are concerned at the rushed timetable
There will be another vote at the third reading on Wednesday before it goes through the same stages in the Lords, including the opportunity for further amendments to be added.
Last night it was claimed that 27 Conservative MPs plan to support so-called wrecking amendments to the Bill when it returns to the Commons later this week, which could expose the Bill to damage in the Lords.