Liam Fox accuses Lords of trying to block Brexit

Chuka Umunna

The House of Lords voted 335 to 244 in favor of a "meaningful vote" amendment to May's Brexit blueprint that could allow Parliament to send ministers back to the negotiating table in Brussels or even halt the Brexit process if it disapproved of the final deal.

Asked about the Lords vote, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "There is a role for it to play in providing scrutiny, but the British public have voted to leave the European Union and Parliament needs to get on and deliver that".

He conceded the parliamentary arithmetic was hard in a hung parliament.

He added: "I think there is quite a big debate now about whether the unelected House can actually thwart the view of the British electorate in a referendum and what's been happening in terms of the legislation coming from the House of Commons".

"Now the house of Lords are saying you've made the wrong decision, and we're going to do everything we can to overturn it".

"What is important is that it keeps the government's hands open on negotiations with Brussels".

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Davis also told the committee that he expected the United Kingdom and European Union to have "substantively" agreed to the terms of their future relationship by October this year, and that the two sides could have an agreement "in legal terms, pretty much by the time we leave", ready for the European Union to ratify once the U.K.is no longer a member country.

The slew of Lords defeats, and the difficulties they will pose in the Commons, will cast a shadow over a crucial meeting of the Brexit cabinet subcommittee this week, where senior ministers are split over the customs union.

"I would urge the Prime Minister to accept this cross-party amendment and recognise that there is no majority in Parliament or the country for a no deal Brexit", he said.

The government has said parliament will get a vote on any final deal with the European Union, but only to "take it or leave it".

"This is not. about creating a constitutional crisis, nor is it about asking the Commons [the lower house] to take on the negotiations.it is to ask the Commons and Parliament to decide whether the outcome of the negotiations is good enough", said Dianne Hayter, the opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokeswoman.

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