When the bill comes back to the Commons, those clauses will be retabled. “We’ve been consistently clear that the clauses represent a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market and the huge gains of the peace process,” No 10 said in a statement last night.
The defeat in the Lords, by a huge margin of 433 votes to 165, with former Conservative leaders Michael Howard and William Hague voting against the government, was predicted. What is surprising is that it has prompted a lot of chin-stroking speculation about whether the Lords will persist in opposing the Commons if MPs, equally predictably, vote to reinstate the clauses.
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