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Why the Lords won’t block Brexit

11 February 2017

10:35 AM

11 February 2017

10:35 AM

The government has no majority in the House of Lords and a majority of peers were pro-Remain. But despite this, the Article 50 Bill will get through the Lords I argue in The Sun this morning. Why, because the reason that we still have an unelected chamber in the 21st century is that the House of Lords has a strong self-preservation instinct: it knows its limits.

If the Lords were to try and block something that had been backed in a referendum and had passed the Commons with a majority of 372, then it would be endangering its very existence. Indeed, I understand that the Labour front bench have already made clear through the usual channels that they won’t try and block the bill.


There will, of course, be attempts to amend it. But as one Cabinet Minister said to me this week the fact that the Commons had passed a clean bill ‘puts a massive pressure’ on the Lords to do the same. It is also worth remembering that the government had a comfortable majority on all the amendments in the Commons, it never dipped below 30, so Theresa May has the votes to knock back any amendments the Lords passes.

Lib Dem peers might be prepared to create a constitutional crisis over Brexit. But I suspect that, in the end, a majority of peers will shy away from doing anything that could bring the House down.

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