Lord Heseltine sacked as government adviser after Brexit rebellion

Connor Sephton, News Reporter

Lord Heseltine has been sacked as a government adviser after spearheading a rebellion against the Brexit bill.

The former Conservative cabinet minister had joined peers in backing an amendment to the bill to trigger Article 50, which proposes that Theresa May would not be able to finalise a deal with the EU unless she had approval from both Houses of Parliament.

After the amendment passed with a majority of 98, Lord Heseltine was told that the Prime Minister was firing him from his roles in advising the Government on a number of issues, including its industrial strategy.

Following his dismissal, the Tory grandee told Sky News: "I have been working for the Government now for six years. It has been a privilege.

"Of course I'm very sad and sorry to see it go - but in the end you have to be true to yourself and I knew I had to make that speech today in the House of Lords.

"None of us can see what governments we're going to be dealing with in Europe. We can't see what the circumstances are going to be, we can't see what the deal is going to be.

"All people like me in the House of Lords are saying is that the ultimate sovereignty of this country lies in Parliament. That's what the Brexit people have been saying along: 'We've got to have sovereignty back.'"

Lord Heseltine also warned that European governments will not offer the UK a good deal, as it could spark other EU members to leave.

The former deputy prime minister has said he is not interested in sparking a "constitutional crisis" if the Commons decides to reject the amendment submitted by the Lords.

"We're not trying to overrule the Commons, or become an equal partner to the Commons, we're merely doing what the House of Lords traditionally is expected to do, which is to ask the Commons to think again," he added.

Prior to the vote, the former deputy prime minister had warned that quitting the European Union was the "most momentous peacetime decision of our time".

In an earlier statement, Lord Heseltine had insisted it was Parliament's duty to protect the country's legacy for future generations - and reiterated his belief that "the future of this country is inextricably interwoven with our European friends".

This is the second time in a week that the Lords have defeated the Brexit bill, potentially frustrating Mrs May's efforts to try and trigger the formal process for leaving the EU before the end of this month.

Last Wednesday, a Labour amendment demanding protection for EU citizens in the UK was passed by a majority of 102.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said the outcome of the amendment vote was "disappointing".

He said: "(The bill) has a straightforward purpose - to enact the referendum result and allow the Government to get on with negotiating a new partnership with the EU.

"It is clear that some in the Lords would seek to frustrate that process and it is the Government's intention to ensure that does not happen.

"We will now aim to overturn these amendments in the House of Commons."

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