If the Lords help to de­rail Brexit, I’m afraid it’s war

The Daily Telegraph - - Allison Pearson -

In the past, I’ve al­ways de­fended the House of Lords. A cham­ber com­posed mainly of older peo­ple who cast an ex­pe­ri­enced, world-weary eye on pass­ing events while ex­ert­ing a mild re­strain­ing in­flu­ence on a brasher, younger House of Com­mons is def­i­nitely ec­cen­tric. Well, not any more. Peers voted by a ma­jor­ity of 91 on Mon­day to give Par­lia­ment a de­ci­sive say on the out­come of the final Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The amend­ment was de­lib­er­ately de­signed to stop Brexit. It sets up im­pos­si­ble dead­lines which Re­main­ers know the Gov­ern­ment can’t pos­si­bly meet. If it misses just one of those dead­lines that would give the Com­mons the power to dic­tate the Gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy on Brexit.

We would be sit­ting ducks for the Brus­sels’ marks­men. Michel Barnier would know that the Prime Min­is­ter no longer had any con­trol. The Com­mons could di­rect the Gov­ern­ment to post­pone Ar­ti­cle 50 in­def­i­nitely un­til a) the UK doesn’t leave, or b) we leave on such bad terms, we are still ef­fec­tively in the EU.

Watch­ing the de­bate, I was ab­so­lutely dis­gusted. Who were th­ese un­elected toads drip­ping with con­de­scen­sion for the Bri­tish peo­ple? Lord Bil­imo­ria ac­tu­ally said that Par­lia­ment knows what is “in the best in­ter­ests of the peo­ple and the coun­try”. No, mate, you are the ser­vants and we are the masters. Hard to com­pute in your er­mine-lined ivory tower, I know, but the clue is in the word “democ­racy”.

When the amend­ment gets to the Com­mons, Theresa May should tell the Tory rebels: “This is a mat­ter of con­fi­dence. I can’t have my hands tied in this way.” If the rebels have got any sense (de­bat­able), they will vote with the Gov­ern­ment, and the Lords if they have any sense (dou­bly de­bat­able), will ac­cept the Com­mons’ ver­dict. If they don’t, then I’m afraid it’s war. The Bri­tish Peo­ple vs Par­lia­ment. I’m look­ing for a tank on ebay. Do they re­ally think we will be told we voted the wrong way by an elite no one voted for at all?

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