Lords block ‘illegal’ Brexit Bill

The Internal Market Bill was defeated in the Lords by the largest majority seen in over 20 years.

22 Oct 2020| News

The government’s Internal Market Bill, which would breach the Withdrawal Agreement the UK has with the EU, has suffered the biggest defeat in decades in the House of Lords.

Opposed from the start by all non-government parties and a significant number of rebels from within the Conservative Party, the Bill would change customs arrangements on the Irish border, which it is believed would undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

An amendment put forward by Lord Judge, which said the proposed legislation “would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom”, passed by an enormous majority of 226 (395 votes to 169) in the Lords after it received cross-party support.

The Constitution Unit reported that this is the biggest government defeat in the Lords since 1999.

“We cannot resile from the fact that we are breaking the law if this bill is enacted,” Lord Judge, a former Lord Chief Justice, said in explaining his opposition to the Bill.

“There can be no getting away from it. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the reputational damage to the United Kingdom.”

The Bill will now return to the House of Commons and the Lords’ vote signals to the government that it will need to be amended significantly if it is to be allowed to pass into law.