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Theresa May faces a new Brexit challenge from the House of Lords



U. K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit strategy faces renewed threats on Wednesday as her flagship returns to Parliament's upper chamber, where the lords of all political groups are trying to change it.

A proposal to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU According to Dianne Hayter, a Labor colleague who sponsored the amendment with independent member John Kerr, former Conservative Party leader Chris Patten, and Liberal Democrat Sarah Ludford With more than 50 votes leaving the bloc,

Britain remains in the Customs Union and says it would prevent the government from negotiating trade agreements with other countries. If the Lords support the amendment to the European Union Law, the danger for May is that the lower chamber, the lower house, chooses to keep it.

That's because most opposition legislators and some of their own conservatives also support the retention of a customs union that would keep duty-free goods after Brexit between Britain and the EU. If May would accept to remain in a Customs Union, it would trigger a revolt of hardened Tories who want a clean break with the EU.

"It's usually harder to knock something out of a bill than put it into a bill," said Kerr, who helped draft the Article 50 clause governing the Brexit process. He said he wanted Britain to stay in the EU, "but if we leave, we should do it in a way that minimizes the damage."

May's headache

At least 10 Tories have supported one amendment to another Bill in the lower house calls for a customs union – enough on paper to defeat them in the lower house. This bill has been delayed.

"Customs will be the government's biggest headache," said Mij Rahman, a Eurasia Group political analyst in London. "May has promised the 60 Hardliner Brexiteer Tory MPs that they will not keep the UK in a Customs Union, but the rival 25-member pro-European Tory group supports the idea and sees in it their best hope, May &." # 39; s Brexit mitigate. "

Wednesday marks the first of six sessions in the Lords for today's bill through May 8. It's not likely that it will come back until the second half of May, though no formal date is set has been.

More: May's Brexit Red Line on the Customs Union could go on

It is not clear how the government would respond to a defeat at the Customs Union and to what extent any changes might force them to change their policies to change. At the very least, they will be pressured to turn around and stay in a Customs Union.

One official said the government would probably oppose the amendment if it were returned to the House of Commons. Another said that the clause would only oblige the government to explain what it has done to stay in a customs union – which could easily happen without any policy implications.

It's harder for May to legislate through the Lords, where their Conservatives make up just 245 of the 787 peers. But because the body is not elected, the lords often move to the lower house when it rejects their changes.

Labor believes it has the votes to topple May on about a dozen amendments covering eight subject areas including the Customs Union. Other areas that are affected by Lords 'cross-party amendments are:

  • Strengthening environmental protection and workers' rights
  • Limiting the scope of the so-called Henry VIII forces that would allow ministers to defer legislative changes and evasion Provisions
  • Go beyond a successful rebel change in the House of Commons in December, which ensured a meaningful vote for lawmakers at the last Brexit May deal by giving Parliament even more say on whether the Prime Minister seeking or leaving a new deal EU without
  • Protecting the peace process in Northern Ireland
  • Lifting the government's firm Brexit Day on 19 March 2019 for more flexibility
  • Facilitating future UK cooperation with EU Agencies

"I've got all the serious changes a Tory, a Crossbencher, a Lib Dem and a Labor Peer: The whole house is overcast, "Hayter said Monday in an interview in parliament. "I'm pretty optimistic if the government does not make any significant concessions to some of them, that we should enforce them."


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