Published: Wed, May 02, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

UK PM faces Brexit challenges from her party

UK PM faces Brexit challenges from her party

Lords set themselves on a collision path with the Government after handing PM Theresa May a damaging defeat which could force her to allow Parliament to set the terms of Brexit.

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.

The Government will find it "difficult" to get any Brexit deal through Parliament unless it has achieved a "pretty substantive" agreement on future relations with the European Union by the autumn, David Davis has said.

Peers voted by 335 to 244 in favour of the amendment, with 19 Conservative rebels defying the government including former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine.

On Tuesday, the Secretary for International Trade Liam Fox told Sky News that the "unelected house" was trying to block the democratic "will of the people", although the amendment must be ratified first by the directly elected House of Commons.

May can try to overturn the changes, which have to be agreed by both houses of parliament before they become law.

Lords amendments to the draft legislation will go back for consideration by the House of Commons.

"This is not ... about creating a constitutional crisis, nor is it about asking the Commons (the lower house) to take on the negotiations ... it 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.

Mr Davis warned the United Kingdom could be left "in a sort of limbo" if it is not able to complete a future relationship deal with the European Union by the end of the transition period in December 2020.

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

The Tory frontbencher added: "There is a clear distinction between the important work of revising legislation and attempting to overturn the referendum result to keep the United Kingdom inside the European Union, in direct opposition to the British people".

Government minister Lord Duncan of Springbank insisted the United Kingdom was seeking to agree a series of measures to enable unaccompanied children to join close family members in the United Kingdom or another member state "whichever is in their best interests" but the existing system was "in many cases not fit for purpose".

Brexit ministers have so far offered a "take it or leave it" vote on the final Brexit deal, meaning the option of a "no deal" was still on the table. "This is a question about whether the will of the British people will be respected or not, and it must be".

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