United Kingdom government suffers Brexit defeat in House of Lords

Chukka Umunna

Ex-Tory leader Michael Howard issued a scathing attack on the latest House of Lords vote to give Parliament power over Brexit negotiations, saying it would undermine the UK's hand in Brussels and make Britain a "laughing stock".

Ministers said this risked "weakening" the UK's hand in negotiations.

MPs have already defeated the government once on the issue of a meaningful vote and the issue will now return to the Commons for it to be decided once and for all.

The EU's backstop proposal, which would mean Northern Ireland staying in the customs union and much of the single market, has been rejected by the UK.

The government on Monday night suffered yet another defeat in the House of Lords, as peers voted against the EU Withdrawal Bill for the seventh time.

The cross-party amendment also calls on legislators to first seek approval from Parliament for the mandate of the second negotiating phase.

The brewing row over immigration controls comes as Mrs May faces a fresh threat to her Brexit plans in the House of Lords this week.

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The former Tory minister Viscount Hailsham said: "In democracies both Parliament and the electorate have the right to change their minds".

But the Lords heavily voted for Parliament to be given a more decisive say on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

"I'm afraid it reveals the appalling lengths to which the die-hard Remainers are prepared to go to achieve their aims", he said.

Asked what the alternative to a second referendum would be if Parliament voted against the deal reached with Brussels at the end of the negotiations, he replied: "If in the end we have an agreement that the Government wants but Parliament won't agree to, we have the possibility of leaving the European Union without an agreement".

Speaking afterwards, he said ministers would consider the implications of the vote.

They also supported a move to give Parliament approval of the mandate for negotiations over the UK's future relationship with the European Union and backed a post-Brexit system that enables lone child refugees to join family members living in the UK.

Last week Brexit Secretary David Davis said the motion to be considered by MPs on the final deal would be amendable - raising the prospect of MPs having greater influence over the process.

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