Tories threaten to take power away from House of Lords if it stalls Brexit

A plan to strip peers of their right to veto certain laws, called statutory instruments, will be kept in reserve – in case they misbehave

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Indy Politics

The House of Lords has been warned not to delay or amend Brexit or a threat to curb its powers will be revived.

The Government announced it will keep in reserve a plan to strip peers of their right to veto certain laws, called statutory instruments, which was thought to have been dropped.

The idea – put forward last year by David Cameron, after the Lords rebelled over cuts to tax credits for the low-paid – will not go ahead immediately, the leader of the Lords said.

But, Natalie Evans told peers in a statement, that decision was “reliant on the discipline and self-regulation that this House imposes upon itself”.

She added: “Should that break down, we would have to reflect on that decision.

“This House has an important role to play in scrutinising and revising legislation and the Government recognises this.

“As we find ourselves considering the legislation resulting from the decision of the British people to leave the European Union, the constructive approach this House has so far shown will be ever more important.”

The comments were immediately seen as a threat to wage war on the Lords powers if, as threatened, pro-Remain peers try to stall or amend Theresa May’s Brexit strategy.

Liberal Democrat peers and Crossbenchers have already said they will try to amend the expected Article 50 Bill, to trigger Britain’s EU exit.

And the power of the Lords to block statutory instruments will be crucial when the Great Repeal Bill is brought forward – because it could include up to 2,000 of them.

That enormous bill, to eventually remove many EU laws from the statute book – over a period of up to two years – will be the main focus of Lords opposition to hard Brexit.

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