House of Lords “could delay Brexit”, claims peer

People “ought to be given an opportunity to think again” about the vote for Brexit, says Conservative peer Baroness Wheatcroft

By Josh May

01 Aug 2016

A senior Conservative peer has said there is cross-party support in the House of Lords for delaying the UK’s exit from the European Union to encourage MPs and the public to reconsider the decision to leave.

Tory politician Baroness Wheatcroft told The Times that there would be a majority in the upper chamber to send back a bill triggering Article 50, the formal process for leaving the EU.

There is some dispute over whether or not the government needs to consult Parliament before invoking Article 50, but Baroness Wheatcroft said it was “imperative” the mechanism was not triggered hastily.

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“At the moment I don’t think it’s sensible for the Lords, an unelected second chamber, to obviously stand in the way of a democratic vote. I’d like the Commons to do that,” she told the newspaper.

“However, if it comes to a bill, I think the Lords might actually delay things. I think there’s a majority in the Lords for remaining...

“I would hope, while we delayed things, that there would be sufficient movement in the EU to justify putting it to the electorate, either through a general election or a second referendum.”

She argued that people “ought to be given an opportunity to think again” about the vote for Brexit, and revealed that peers were “swapping thoughts” about ways the Lords could slow the process of leaving the EU.

A Labour source, however, surmised the mood among its party’s peers as: “The decision had been made and it was now for the government to try and get the best deal out of it and then explain its case.”

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