Tim Farron's party will renew their bid for a second EU referendum in the House of Lords
Tim Farron’s party suffered a humiliating defeat in the House of Commons this week over their bid for a national vote on the final Brexit deal the Government agrees with the EU.
Only 33 MPs backed the Liberal Democrat attempt to amend the Government’s Article 50 Bill to include a provision for another referendum, with 340 MPs voting against their proposal.
Mr Farron could not even get all of his nine MPs to vote in favour of the amendment.
But the Liberal Democrats are now hoping their greater clout in the House of Lords will give them a better chance of securing a second EU vote.
The Article 50 Bill, designed to give the Prime Minister the power to formally trigger Britain’s EU exit, will be debated by the House of Lords when Parliament returns from a half-term break on February 20.
The Bill passed through the House of Commons unaltered following a series of votes on Wednesday night.
There are 102 Liberal Democrat peers and 203 Labour peers in the House of Lords, where the Tory Government does not hold a majority.
Confirming they will relaunch their bid for a second referendum with the tabling of further amendments to the Article 50 in the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrat leader in the upper chamber Lord Newby said: “The Liberal Democrats will fight to ensure that the Brexit Bill does not get a rubber-stamped through the House of Lords.
“It is our job to scrutinise legislation and we will not be silenced in the Lords.
“The Government are doing all they can to ensure that the Brexit deal is made behind closed doors and that the people of this country are not given a voice.
“We will stand up for democracy and stand up for the people’s right to have the final say on this country’s future."
It is our job to scrutinise legislation and we will not be silenced in the Lords.
Lord Newby, Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords
The Liberal Democrats’ tabled amendment states the Government cannot agree a divorce deal with the EU until it has been approved by a national referendum.
They have also tabled a second amendment demanding the Government guarantees the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK.
Ukip’s deputy chair Suzanne Evans, the party’s parliamentary spokesperson, branded the peers’ proposed amendment on a second EU referendum a “typical Liberal Democrat fiasco not respecting democracy”.
She told Express.co.uk: “They’re just trying to do what the Liberal Democrats always do, which is overturn the will of the British people and keep us in the European Union.”
Ukip's Suzanne Evans attacked a 'typical Lib Dem fiasco'
Brexit Secretary David Davis has told the House of Lords to do its "patriotic duty" and back the Bill.
At the last general election, the Liberal Democrats stood on a manifesto calling for the House of Lords to be reformed and peers given “a proper democratic mandate”.
Lord Teverson mocked the irony of the Government’s supposed threat.