The House of Lords voted against certain clauses of the UK Internal Market Bill on Monday and will do so again if those elements remain. Bills often ‘ping-pong’ back and forth between the Lords and the Commons before eventually being passed due to the Salisbury Convention. This convention means Lords cannot oppose any Government legislation which was promised in an election manifesto.
But one Lord has claimed because Mr Johnson’s proposal was not explicitly detailed in the 2019 manifesto, peers are within their right to block the bill even if it returns to the Lords from the Commons.
Within the election manifesto, Mr Johnson pledged to ‘get Brexit done’ and pump money back into the UK following the completion of the process.
Critics argue the context of the Internal Markets Bill was not included in the manifesto pledge.
Following the vote, arch-Remainer and Labour peer, Lord Adonis said: “I’m virtually certain the House of Lords won’t now back down in its rejection of the key breaches of international law in the Internal Market Bill.
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“Ken Clarke and Michael Howard both said as much yesterday, leading 44 Tory rebels as part of the majority of 268 against Johnson.
“Under the ‘Salisbury convention’ the Lords must ultimately pass measures in the government’s election manifesto.
“But in this case Johnson’s proposal was not in his manifesto.
“Rather, the opposite was promised in his manifesto!
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“So the Lords is on firm constitutional ground.”
In a blow to Mr Johnson’s Brexit hopes, the peers voted on two amendments – 433 to 165 and 407 to 148 – to strip out key clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill.
However, despite the rejection of the Brexit legislation by peers, a No10 spokesman stated following the vote, the Government will re-table the elements once they return to the Commons in the coming weeks.
The Commons has already voted to pass the bill, 340 votes to 256.
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Brexit news: The Lords voted against the bill
Brexit news: Lord Howard was against the bill
In a further tweet, Lord Adonis claimed the UK Government must now revert its policy in order to deal with the economic crisis “engulfing” the country.
He said: “The right immediate policy on Brexit, in the economic crisis now engulfing us, is this: we should seek, during a further extension, to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement to remain in the Customs Union and retain as full access to the Single Market as possible.”
In particular, the Internal Market Bill violates requirements on state aid and customs-exit declarations within the withdrawal agreement.
It is for this reason, that notable peers such as Lord Michael Howard and Lord Ken Clarke voted against the legislation.
Lord Howard said: “What ministers have done is make the case that circumstances make it expedient to break international law.”
Indeed, former Tory Prime Minister, Sir John Major insisted the legislation had damaged the reputation of the country.
In a speech to Middle Temple, one of the professional associations for barristers, said it also risks peace in Northern Ireland.
Brexit news: Sir John Major
He said: “This action is unprecedented in all our history — and for good reason
“It has damaged our reputation around the world.
“Lawyers everywhere are incredulous that the UK — often seen as the very cradle of the rule of law — could give themselves the power to break the law.”