The House of Lords hopes to pull off a political maneuver that will undo key Hard Brexiteer amendments that hope to stop both Theresa May’s and Labour’s Brexit plan.
An amendment in the taxation bill would prevent a customs border in the Irish Sea and collecting taxes on behalf of the EU, ruling out the Chequers plan, and meant the government would have to further legislate to bring in a customs union, hindering Labour’s plan. Due to the nature of this bill, being an “aids and supply bill”, it cannot be amended by the Lords.
However, the lords will attach an amendment to the trade bill that will reopen debate on the previous amendments.
The peers will table a series of amendments including one to reopen the debate on a customs union.
Angela Smith, Labour’s leader in the Lords said:
“Given the current state of the negotiations with the EU, we are again looking to give MPs a meaningful role in ensuring the best outcome – and have tabled an amendment to put a customs union back on the table.
“The government’s desperate tactics meanwhile to accept ERG amendments to the taxation bill stopped any effective debate in the Commons. So, we have also tabled new amendments to ensure ministers can’t duck scrutiny on such key issues.”
Whilst the commons have voted down joining a customs union before, now that May’s chequers deal was been rejected by the EU, negoiating a customs unions might now be the preffered option.
The House of Lords has played a key role in helping to strengthen parliament’s hand in the process of Brexit, including by limiting the so-called Henry VIII powers that will allow ministers to make sweeping changes to legislation to prepare Britain’s laws.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
Despite my objections to the Lords they have proved their worth in the Brexit process and efficently acted as a check and balance on the process. The fact the ERG group have tried to stop the prefferred Brexit of both main parties via parliament when their main initial argument for leaving parliament out of Brexit, almost altogether, was to not tie the government’s hands shows their hypocrisy. The Lords has been villainised by the Hard Brexiteers throughout the withdrawal process and these amendments should pass to allow May and Corbyn to try and vote through their prefferred Brexit when the bill returns to the Commons.
With Chequers ruled out by the EU Labour have a golden chance to make their Brexit policy the government’s Brexit policy, and if not that make sure the government would have to fall back on a customs union, stopping a no deal Brexit. To do this they need to convince Tory moderates that the ERG group won’t be able bring down the government should a custom union become the government’s negoiating target. So far many Tory moderates have been too scared of a General Election to defy the party’s whip.