Article 50 bill: Theresa May suffers defeat on 'meaningful vote' amendment as peers back the change by 366 to 268

Laura Hughes

The House of Lords has defied the Prime Minister and backed an amendment to the Article 50 bill which would hand Parliament a "meaningful vote" on the outcome of the negotiations. 

Peers backed the change by 366 votes to 268, a significant majority. 

It is the second time Theresa May has been defeated on the bill in the second chamber, prompting fears among some Lords that the House is undermining itself and overstepping the mark. 

Peers who supported the amendment warned that without a legal guarantee that MPs would get the final say it is just the promise of ministers keeping the UK from leaving the EU without prior consent. 

David Davis the Brexit secretaryCredit: AFP

Those who opposed it warned allowing the amendment onto the face of the bill would slow down the process and could ultimately lead to Brexit being blocked by those who refused to vote for it in the Commons.

Lords, including the Government minister Lord Bridges, also cautioned that the amendment leaves too many questions unanswered; not least what happens if the UK fails to secure a deal.

The bill will now head back to the House of Commons where it will be considered again by MPs. 

Although the amendment is likely to win some support, it is unlikely to be passed in the chamber. 

7:38PM

13 Conservative peers voted against the Government

Here are the names:

Lady Altmann

Lord Bowness

Lord Cormack

Lord Deben (John Gummer)

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint

Viscount Hailsham (Douglas Hogg)

Lord Heseltine

Lord Higgins

Lord Inglewood

Lady McIntosh of Pickering

Lord Northbrook

Duke of Wellington

Lady Wheatcroft

7:36PM

Labour Baroness Smith: 'Over to the Commons' ...

Labour’s leader in the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon said: "During the referendum campaign, we so often heard that this was a campaign for UK sovereignty – for the British Parliament to make decisions rather than the European Parliament.

"The Prime Minister has said, reinforced in the White Paper, that Parliament should have the final say and the final vote. 

"The amendment in the Lords tonight gave effect to both of these, so it’s now over to the Commons."

6:56PM

Biggest ever vote in the House of Lords

Peers clearly really care about the Brexit bill amendment. That was the biggest ever vote in the House of Lords, according to Peter Kellner. A whopping 634 peers voted. 

 

6:54PM

Graphic: What is Article 50?

At a glance | What is Article 50?

 

6:53PM

David Davis: Lords seeking to 'frustrate' Brexit process

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said: "It is disappointing that the House of Lords has chosen to make further changes to a Bill that the Commons passed without amendment.

"It has a straightforward purpose - to enact the referendum result and allow the Government to get on with negotiating a new partnership with the EU.

The Brexit secretary - Credit: Telegraph

"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."

6:51PM

Leave.EU: 'How dare they!'

 

6:50PM

Tim Farron: No back room deal on Brexit

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, said: "The Liberal Democrats have fought for greater accountability at every step of this process.

"Theresa May cannot be allowed to get away with a back room deal on the biggest decision of a generation.

"For all her talk of taking back control Theresa May is all too happy to silence parliament and the people."

6:42PM

Graphic: The vote

Article 50 Bill | How the Lords voted

 

6:42PM

Nick Clegg: MPs must now back the Lords vote

Commenting on the vote in the House of Lords Nick Clegg MP, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said: “The Lords have rightly stood up for parliamentary sovereignty and refused to write the Government a blank cheque for hard Brexit. The Commons must now find the nerve to do the same.

“Our elected representatives must be offered more than just a bad-deal-or-no-deal ultimatum at the end of the negotiations – the parliamentary equivalent of being asked whether you would prefer to lose an arm or a leg.

Nick Clegg - Credit: Getty

“I would urge MPs of all parties, including Brexiters who campaigned to Leave on the basis of parliamentary sovereignty, to stop Parliament being neutered.

“Parliament has a long history of ratifying treaties. What is the Government scared of? If they cannot bring back a deal they are prepared to put before MPs, then it cannot be a deal that is good enough for Britain.”

6:41PM

Leave Means Leave: Peers should be 'ashamed'

Richard Tice, Co-Chair of Leave Means Leave, said:  "Any businessperson worth their salt knows that this will undermine the PM’s negotiating position and damages the national interest.  

“Unelected, unpatriotic peers are embarrassingly out of touch with basic negotiating techniques.  

“They should be ashamed.”

6:39PM

Peers back amendment: Theresa May defeated

The Prime Minister has suffered a second defeat in the House of Lords after peers voted in favour of allowing the House of Commons to have a 'meaningful vote' on the outcome of the negotiations with the EU.

In total 366 peers backed the amendment to the Article 50 bill, while 268 voted against it. 

The defeat is embarrassing, but not unexpected. The bill will now go back to the House of Commons.

6:17PM

Lords are now voting

we will have the result in about 15 minutes

6:17PM

Lord Pannick: A promise is not enough

The crossbench peer says the essence of the amendment is clear, that Parliament not ministers should have control over the exit process. 

He says it is disappointing that those who championed the sovereignty of the House during the EU referendum are now the ones who try to block it. 

On a matter of this importance and undertaking is no substitute for a commitment in legislation he adds. 

Lords are now voting.

6:15PM

Conservative minister Lord Bridges: Amendment is 'lucrative field day for lawyers'

Lord Bridges is responding for the Government. 

The UK is going to leave the EU he says. Everything we do will be determined by our national interest and we shall no nothing to undermine it, he says.

Parliamentary sovereignty is key and MPs will be given the opportunity to scrutinise.

He says the debate comes down to whether peers and MPs can trust the Government to deliver on its promise, he adds that "of course" ministers will honour their words on this issue. 

The PM - Credit: PA

"At any point throughout this process Parliament will be able to express its view" he adds, reminding Lords that MPs have already considered the need for more power and rejected that need. 

He says that putting the amendment on the face of the bill would "create a lucrative field day for lawyers" and would have unintended consequences. 

It would end in tears he says. 

The EU flag - Credit: PA

If the amendment is carried and Parliament agrees with the PM that no deal is better than the deal on offer, it is clear what would happen he says. But it is unclear on what happens if the House says no to walking away. 

So what path would the PM then take he says. 

The House can't accept such an unclear and risky amendment he warns. It would open up too many questions that cannot be answered. 

The amendment may also be used by some to try and block the will of the British people and head off Brexit he warns in his concluding remarks.

6:04PM

Labour's Baroness Hayer: A promise is not enough

Baroness Hayter says the amendment secures in law that Parliament is the ultimate decider. 

She warns that no UK law or any other treaty sets out how to actually leave the union and this would leave the country without a formal plan. 

It is mandatory for the EU Parliament to give consent but not for this Parliament, she says. This should not be the case and it's not good enough to say that the intention is to give MPs a vote, because it is not legally binding. 

She says the Commons should accept the amendment if the Lords backs it. The most important thing is to get it on the face of the bill, she adds. 

It should be Parliament, not simply the Government where power lies, deal or no deal. 

5:56PM

Lib Dem Baroness Ludford: 'Strange' to vote against amendment

Baroness Ludford says she found it "strange" that peers called for people to vote against giving Parliament more power. 

She says this only applies in "some kind of parallel universe that Brexit has created". 

Those who do not support the amendment want the Government to be allowed to let the UK leave the EU without a deal, and this would be bad for the country, she concludes.

5:52PM

Peers shouting  for "front bench" speeches

... They want to move the debate on. The Liberal Democrat's Baroness Ludford is now speaking. We're not far from a vote.

5:48PM

Conservative Lord Naseby: People are fed up of the EU

The peer says it is essential to recognise that the public were fed up with Europe and that's why they voted to leave. 

He says the debate this afternoon only serves to undermine the public confidence in the House of Lords. "We should not be undermining that confidence" he says, adding he will not be voting for the amendment. 

 As an aside, it is a wonderful bow tie...

5:46PM

Tory Baroness Stowell: The public don't trust us, we need to understand why

The peer says the House must decide what is more important, the power to overturn the result or the power to influence the Prime Minister in the deal she secures with the EU.

There is a lot of expertise in both Houses that must be heard during the negotiating period, she says, adding she worries that will be undermined if peers block the Government's path.

Peers in the chamber - Credit: AFP

The former leader of the House of Lords says that peers must think again about the way they are perceived by the public. Something has changed, she says. The public now think peers either understand them or are against them. 

The same goes for MPs.

We may not be against them, but they think we are, she tells the House. We need to think about why that is and reflect on it. 

5:31PM

Baroness Altmann: Backing the amendment is not frustrating will of the people

Former Tory minister Baroness Altmann says it is possible to back the amendment without frustrating the will of the people.

She disagrees that Parliamentary oversight makes it more likely that the UK will get a bad deal, adding instead they will be incentivised to achieve an acceptable deal if negotiators know it could be rejected by MPs. 

Baroness Altmann - Credit: PA

"I am not challenging the result of the referendum" she says, after peers accuse her of trying to slow down leaving. 

Instead, Baroness Altmann says it is essential the both MPs and peers do everything they can to get the best deal for the country, whatever that takes.

5:22PM

Baroness Jones: I voted Brexit for £350million a week for NHS claim

It would not be taking back control if the EU Parliament is given a vote on Brexit but MPs aren't, she says. 

Baroness Jones adds that she is looking forward to the Budget tomorrow because the promise of an extra £350million for the NHS was one of the reasons she voted to leave the EU.

Other peers laugh at the suggestion.

 

5:19PM

Conservative Lord Howard: Amendment is a 'recipe for conflict'

The Tory grandee Lord Howard is speaking now. 

He says MPs don't need the new clause being suggested to give them the power to have their say, and their way.

Lord Howard says there is already the "ultimate safeguard" to Parliamentary democracy in that if MPs do not want to give something their backing they will always have the right to decide not to. 

Essentially the amendment is a waste of time, he says.

Lord Howard - Credit: Paul Grover

"We all want the minimum of delay" he says, adding that it would be madness to force the nation to wait around for a year for the parliament act to be triggered in order to ensure that MPs have their say. This is the implication of the amendment he says. 

"I don't think we should lightly embark upon a course which would not only run the risk of putting one House in conflict with another but of also putting Parliament in conflict with the courts," he says.

He adds that the Lords have still not yet had an answer to the question about a new clause which seems to allow repeated coming and going between parliament and the EU.

This would be a bad thing for the country, "an absurd position to put our Government in", he adds. 

He says the new clause is a "recipe for conflict" and unnecessary.

5:06PM

Crossbench Lord Kerr: Article 50 CAN be reversed 

Lord Kerr, the author of Article 50, makes an important intervention. 

He says that ministers have typically said so far that the notification won't be withdrawn as a matter of policy, not that it can't be.

The peer states that it is possible to reverse the decision, making peers laugh when he adds that he just wanted to clear that up.

That doesn't mean the Government will change its mind, it just means anything is possible.

5:01PM

David Davis watches over the Lords debate

The Brexit minister has slunk in at the back of the debate to keep a keen eye on the Lords ...

 

4:50PM

Lords battle for who speaks next

It isn't widely known but the House of Lords does not have a Speaker like the Commons. Instead, peers must agree among themselves who gets to speak next. 

The convention leads to some amusing scenes like the one below.

 

4:46PM

Baroness Deech: EU doesn't care about us anyway

Crossbencher Baroness Deech says the EU will not be kind or accommodating to the UK and therefore it does not make sense to bend to their will.

She is called out by another peer, who wants to know where she is getting her facts from. She explains "I read it every day in the newspapers" - which prompts laughter. 

"The only possible outcome at the end is no deal" she says, adding that if the EU does not give us what we want at the end of the two year process and Parliament votes against leaving they would not let us back in anyway. 

The amendments calling for a second referendum are seeking to block Brexit she says, adding they are "unworkable" and "defy the result of the referendum". 

4:41PM

Video: Lords defeat call for second Brexit referendum

The House of Lords votes against a Lib Dem amendment to the Brexit Bill calling for a second referendum. 

 

4:40PM

Tory Baroness McIntosh: Government's word is not enough

The Conservative peer says the Government is asking people to take too much on trust. She wants Theresa May to put the promise on the face of the bill because without such a pledge there is no guarantee it will be carried out. 

The Baroness says that the Lords does not want to stand in the way of triggering Article 50 but obtaining the approval of Parliament is not the same as statutory authority.

House of Lords - Credit: PA

This all sounds very technical, but it's the heart of the argument - should MPs word be good enough on its own (along with the Government's pledge) to trigger such an important decision?

Has that authority already been given by the country when we voted in the referendum? Or should such a big decision require a legal process in order to do it properly. 

The problem is, nobody can agree - clearly. 

Baroness McIntosh says that there will be "a complete lack of clarity" without proper enforcement.

4:32PM

Lord Lawson: We should not be scared about leaving the EU without a deal

Conservative Lord Lawson says there is "nothing to be scared about" leaving the EU without a deal with the other 27 states because a large bulk of trade is already conducted on World Trade Organisation rules. 

This is the basis for his argument against the amendment the Lords are debating, that giving Parliament the power to refuse to let the UK leave the EU without an agreement would be "an unconscionable rejection of the referendum result". 

Lord Lawson - Credit: Bloomberg

He warns this would contribute to a "dangerous gulf" that already exists over this issue. 

He adds: "No agreement is by far and away the most likely outcome. A bad agreement is all that is likely to be on offer."

Lord Lawson urges his colleagues to reject the amendment "out of hand". 

4:15PM

Tory peer calls for final vote 

Viscount Hailsham, a Tory peer, says that the public did know the outcome of Brexit when they voted last year. 

He says parliament must vote in a final deal and warns that only dictatorships stop people from changing their minds. 

The former Tory minister refuses to accept that a final vote would undermine Theresa May's negotiating position.

4:11PM

Tory MP in Lords to watch debate 

4:09PM

'Nonsense to suggest second referendum is undemocratic' 

Lord Turner, a crossbench peer, says the suggestion that having another referendum is undemocratic is "nonsense". 

He adds: “I do wish [Tory party] would pay more attention to the intellectual lineage of Edmund Burke than of Leonid Brezhnev. "

The peer told the Chamber that it is absolutely appropriate to come back and debate in both Houses of Parliament in two years time. 

4:00PM

Archbishop of York: 'Amendment would be a veto' 

The Archbishop of York questions what will happen if the Lords disagrees with MPs on Theresa May's final Brexit deal. 

He suggests it "almost" be a "veto".

3:56PM

Peers have a duty to ask MPs to reconsider 

Lord Cormack, a Tory peer,  has also tabled an amendment saying parliament should have a vote on the final Brexit deal. 

He says peers have a duty to ask MPs to reconsider if they believe that they have "not got it right."

Here is his amendment: 

Insert the following new Clause—

Parliamentary approval prior to agreement with the European Union.

(1) No agreement with the European Union under Article 50(2) on the proposed arrangements for withdrawal from the European Union may be concluded without the approval of each House of Parliament.

(2) Such approval must be sought before the European Parliament gives consideration to the agreement.

3:54PM

'This is a permanent decision'

Lord Bilimoria, a crossbench peer, says that the Brexit vote is not the same as a General Election vote where there would have been a manifesto.

"This is a permanent decision", he says. 

The peer insists that it is only right that Parliament has a full say in the road ahead.

3:38PM

'This is a  wrecking amendment'

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, a Tory peer, says it is hisview that both Houses will get a vote on the final deal and that this amendment is not needed. 

He insists that it would be "ridiculous" for Theresa May to have to get Parliament's approval for her Brexit deal and warns the amendment would give the Lords "a veto on Brexit."

It is getting heated in the Lords as he says: "This House is absolutely full of people who still haven't come to terms with the referendum". 

The peer suggests that the amendment is trying to tie down the PM in order to prevent her from getting an agreement. 

He says: 

The point about this amendment is that it is a wrecking amendment.

This is not the moment for this House to challenge the authority of the House of Commons.

3:33PM

'We are only here at all because of the Supreme Court'

Lord Oates, the Lib Dem peer, says he doesn't  trust this government.

Adding: "We are only here at all because of the Supreme Court." 

He says that if the Government meant it when they said that Parliament would have a vote, there woudl be no harm in just enshrining the commitment in law. 

3:25PM

'I do not accept that the mandate for Brexit runs for all time'

Lord Heseltine is now speaking in the Lords. 

He says he "deeply" regrets the outcome of the referendum and that he said after Brexit that "the fightback starts here." 

Adding: "I do not accept that the mandate for Brexit runs for all time and in all circumstances.

"The 48 per cent have the same right to be heard as those who voted for Brexit."

The peer says the amendment ensures that Parliament has the "critical role in determining the future we will bequeath to generations of young people." 

3:16PM

Theresa May to watch debate... 

3:12PM

Peers debate 'meaningful vote' amendment 

Lord Pannick, the crossbench peer, is now introducing the key Labour-led amendment on a "meaningful vote". 

He says that if peers were to disagree with the Commons, it would be up to the government to take the matter back to MPs. 

Lord Forsyth, a former Tory Cabinet Minister, intervens to say that the hidden agenda in this amendment is to "reject view that the British people voted for." 

Here is the crucial amendment: 

Insert the following new Clause—

“Parliamentary approval for the outcome of negotiations with the European Union

(1) The Prime Minister may not conclude an agreement with the European Union under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, without the approval of both Houses of Parliament.

(2) Such approval shall be required before the European Parliament debates and votes on that agreement.

(3) The prior approval of both Houses of Parliament shall also be required in relation to an agreement on the future relationship of the United Kingdom with the European Union.

(4) The prior approval of both Houses of Parliament shall also be required in relation to any decision by the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom shall leave the European Union without an agreement as to the applicable terms.

2:15PM

'No Brexit secrets' 

Lord Keen of Elie, the Ministry of Justice spokesman in the Lords, has hit back at claims that the Brexit process will be shrouded in secrecy. 

It came after Lady Hayter referred to “secrets” and Lady Ludford spoke of “nasty secrets”.

Lord Keen said: 

This may reflect a difference of approach. But, at the end of the day, there won’t be secrets.

You cannot conduct such a process in secret, ultimately, and you cannot then expect parliament to consider that it has been kept properly informed, as it should be, if you do have what are termed secrets.

We are committed to keeping parliament at least as well informed as the European parliament.

1:44PM

Lib Dems will block whole Bill 

The Liberal Democrats in the Lords have announced that they will vote against the Article 50 Bill when it comes to its third reading.

They will launch a bid to block the legislation in its entirety.   

This is the amendment they will submit after the second reading of the Bill:  

That this House declines to allow the bill to pass, because it does not provide a mechanism for the people of the United Kingdom to have a vote, prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union, on the terms of the new relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Lord Newby, the Lib Dem leader in the Lords, said:

The people started the process of Brexit and it is only right that they are given a say on the final deal.

Today the government have confirmed that the Brexit deal will be finalised behind closed doors in Westminster. This is not accountable, this is not democracy, and that is why the Liberal Democrats cannot support this bill.

1:41PM

House of Lords debates second amendment 

Peers are now debating a Labour amendment saying ministers should have to make quarterly statements to parliament about the Brexit talks and publish reports.

The amendment reads: 

Once a notification has been given under subsection (1), ministers of the Crown must make a quarterly statement on the negotiations to each House of Parliament, with an accompanying report to be made available to relevant parliamentary committees.

1:26PM

Lib Dem amendment defeated 

Peers in the House of Lord has voted 336 to 131 against the Lib Dem amendment.

The changes to the Article 50 bill would have required a referendum on the final Brexit deal. 

Labour abstained and the Tories voted against.

Only two Tory MPs voted for it- Baroness Altmann and Baroness Wheatcroft.

1:10PM

'Cameron warned against neverendums'

Lord Bridges of Headley, the Brexit minister, insists David Cameron made it clear that this was a once-in-a-generation vote. 

He says that David Cameron warned against “neverendums”.

The peer suggests a second referendum would not achieve unity and asks: "Where does it end?"

Peers will now vote on the Lib Dem amendment. 

1:05PM

'No significant demand for a second referendum'

Lady Basildon, the Labour leader in the Lords,  says there is "no significant demand" for a second referendum. 

Instead she says her party will be voting for parliament to secure a meaningful vote on Brexit.

Outlining Labour's policy on this amendment, she asks:

 Why would a second referendum be different in tone, mood or argument to the first?

She confirms that Labour will abstain on this amendment.  

1:01PM

Tory MPs to show support fro rebels 

12:31PM

'A democracy can think again'

Lord Kerr, one of the Article 50 architects, says people should be allowed to change their minds. 

He says: 

If a democracy cannot think again, change its mind, it cannot be a democracy.

12:25PM

'Britons will be 30 per cent poorer' 

Baroness Kennedy, a Labour peer, warns that well-known businessmen have told her that by 2025 people in Britain will be 30 per cent poorer.

Just think about that; 30 per cent less well off. And we are lying to people if we don’t tell them the truth about it.

She says at people start to feel the impact of Brexit they may change their minds. 

12:19PM

'Patronising to say people didn't know what they voted for'

Lord Robathan, a Conservative peer, says it is "unbecoming and patronising" to say people didn't know what they voted for in the referendum. 

He says: 

We should ignore the amendment and carry on.

12:13PM

'Commons run like a dictatorship' 

Lord Taverne, a Lib Dem peer, suggests that the House of Commons is being run like a dictatorship. 

"The will of people must always prevail", he says. 

He says that if Britain used referendums to determine our laws "we would still have the death penalty and flogging in prisons". 

He warns against a return to the nationalism of the 1930s and a reliance on Donald Trump's America. 

"We should not move one miserable inch along that fearsome road", he says.,

12:07PM

'Public didn't know what they were voting for' 

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, a Labour peer, suggests that if  the public was offered a second referendum, this time they would know what they are voting for. 

He says it was wrong that EU citizens living in Britain were not allowed to vote in the referendum. 

12:00PM

'Referendums should be used with great care'

Baroness Falkner, a Lib Dem peer, warns that referendums should be used with "great care."

11:54AM

Archbishop of Canterbury warns against second referendum 

The Archbishop of Canterbury is now speaking against the amendment calling for a second referendum. 

He says it "would add to our divisions" and "is not democratic".

The Archbishop warns it would increase divisions in society and that now is the most divided he has ever seen the country. 

He calls for "national reconciliation."

11:47AM

'I can't see a deal that wouldn't mean being poorer'

Baroness Wheatcroft,  a Tory peer, is speaking in favour of a second referendum. 

She says:

Whatever people voted for, it was not to get poorer. I can't see a deal that wouldn't mean being poorer.

11:43AM

'Lib Dem record on referenda ain't so good'

Lord Carlile of Berriew, an ex Lib-Dem peer, tells peers to be careful about calling for a second referendum. 

He jokes: "The Lib Dem record on referenda ain't so good my Lord - you must remember the referendum on the Alternative Vote. "

Paddy Ashdown, the former Lib Dem peer, says Lord Carlile has "not been entirely accurate" on the party's stance. 

11:33AM

'It is about making sure that voters have a final say' 

Lord Hain, a Labour peer,  says this is not about rerunning June's referendum. 

It is "about making sure that voters have a final say on the eventual negotiated outcome", he says. 

"A process started by a referendum should be completed by a referendum." 

He also joked that he wishes Baroness Basildon was the real Opposition leader. 

11:28AM

'Public is showing signs of not liking what it sees' 

Lord Warner, a crossbench peer, is now speaking in the Chamber. 

He says the country only voted to leave the EU by a small margin.

The peer says that the vote did not mandate leaving the single market and that the Government is out of tune with what the majority want when it comes to the Brexit negotiations. 

He adds “the public is showing signs of not liking what it sees.”

Adding: 

British people may want to change their minds when they realise how adversely affected they will be.

11:14AM

Peers debate second referendum 

Lord Newby, the Lib Dem peer, is now proposing an amendment calling for a second referendum. 

It reads: 

No agreement with the European Union consequent on the use of the power under subsection (1) may be ratified unless it has been approved by a national referendum.

He insists "we are not sidelining parliament" as he addresses peers.  

The peer says parliament should not make the final decision without a final vote from the public on the terms of the agreement.  

"Parliament should debate and vote on all the options at the end of the agreement", he says. 

Adding that the Lib Dems strongly believe that 16 and 17 year olds should vote in a second referendum.

Lord Newby says a short referendum campaign would "hardly impinge" on the brexit timetable "at all."

The peer is facing a number of interventions from colleagues as he speaks. 

He insists that Parliament should accept that people should retain the decision making power at the end of the process as well as at the start. 

There is laughter in the Chamber after he suggests that European countries will "negotiate in good faith." 

10:50AM

What is Article 50? In 60 seconds

9:43AM

PM warns vote will 'incentivise' EU to offer Britain a 'bad deal'

Yesterday, the Prime Minister's official spokesman warned that voting for the amendment would "weaken" the Government's hand in negotiations.

The spokesman added that Mrs May had been clear in her Brexit speech at Lancaster House in January that no deal is better than a bad deal.

He said: 

On the issue of the meaningful vote we shouldn't commit to any process that would incentivise the EU to offer us a bad deal.

If we are in a position where any deal negotiated by the Prime Minister could be rejected by MPs obviously that gives strength to the other parties in the negotiations.

Our view is that this should be a simple Bill in relation to triggering Article 50. It will be a meaningful vote. But what we don't want to do is commit to anything that would weaken our hand in negotiations.

Peers in the House of Lords 

9:11AM

PM braced for second Brexit Bill defeat 

Good Morning,

The Government is bracing itself for a second defeat in the Lords as peers back an amendment to the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

The amendment calls for the Lords and the Commons to be given an early vote on the Brexit deal and would give them the chance to stop Mrs May from walking away from the EU without a deal.

A demonstrator waves a European Union flag outside the Supreme Court  - Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

It would force Theresa May "not to conclude an agreement" with the EU on the UK's withdrawal "without the approval of both Houses of Parliament".

Yesterday the Prime Minister warned that Conservative peers who force the Government into giving Parliament a meaningful vote on Brexit will "incentivise" the European Union to offer Britain a "bad deal". 

Lord Heseltine, the former Tory Cabinet minister, is ready to lead the rebels - said by sources to number in the "low teens" - in the vote expected late this afternoon.

More than a dozen Tory peers are expected to back the change.

Ministers will next week try to overturn any change in the Commons, along with an earlier amendment on guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals to remain in the UK after Brexit.

However, they face more than 20 Tory MPs, led by former ministers Nicky Morgan and Anna Soubry, who are prepared to defy the Government and back the early Parliamentary vote.

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