Brexit: Liam Fox accuses peers of 'thwarting will of people'

02 May, 2018, 02:16 | Author: Donnie King
  • Lord Callanan

Speaking on BBC Daily Politics, the Tory Peer argued that the latest amendment to the Government's Brexit withdrawal bill by the hands of Remainers in the House of Lords will encourage the European Union to give Prime Minister Theresa May a bad deal.

After campaigning to bring back control to Westminster in the Brexit campaign, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has gone on the offensive against the upper house because they did not vote with the government over the controversial EU Withdrawal Bill.

"There is no majority in Parliament - or the United Kingdom - for a hard Brexit and the Tories will only face more humiliating defeats if they don't accept the need to change course".

"I think it would be quite hard to get the withdrawal agreement through the House if we don't have it substantively done".

"If we are in a customs union of any sort we will have less ability to shape Britain's future than we have today".

Dr Fox refused to say whether he would quit if Mrs May changed course, adding: "Getting no answer you can draw your own inferences".

"Second, it demands specific votes by artificial deadlines which, if not met, would give parliament the power to micromanage the government on how to carry out these negotiations".

The Lords had already passed an amendment that would have given the UK Parliament a more meaningful say on Brexit, but it was overturned by the Conservatives in the Commons.

Speaking earlier yesterday, Fox said it would be rash for Labour MPs who represent Leave-voting constituencies to back the Lords' amendments to the European Union withdrawal bill when it returns to the Commons.

It would spell the end of the "take it or leave it" approach promised by ministers - under which, the only alternative to accepting a deal thrashed out by Mrs May and Brussels would be the United Kingdom leaving without a deal.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer hailed the result as "a hugely significant moment in the fight to ensure Parliament has a proper role in the Brexit negotiations and that we avoid a no deal situation".

"This is not. about creating a constitutional crisis, nor is it about asking the Commons [the lower house] to take on the is to ask the Commons and Parliament to decide whether the outcome of the negotiations is good enough", said Dianne Hayter, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokeswoman.

With May running a minority government, shored up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, victory for the prime minister is far from guaranteed, particularly with a number of pre-EU rebels among her ranks.

Senior Tory backbencher Sarah Wollaston said Brexiteers wanted to "take back control" to the United Kingdom but "Parliament won't support a hard Brexit".



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