The Lords is preparing to potentially debate the "Benn bill" to prevent a no-deal Brexit. But it's going to be a long week...by Prospect Team / September 4, 2019 / Leave a comment
Right, go on.
As a bicameral legislature, parliament has two separate houses: the Commons and the Lords. The latter is designed to provide scrutiny of the work of the government, and share the task of shaping and checking laws.
Okay, sure, but why is it significant right now?
Because the “Benn bill,” designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit, will likely be heading there this week.
This bill would require the government to either reach a deal by 19th October, or gain parliament’s approval for a no-deal Brexit by that date.
Last night, Boris Johnson lost his first vote in the Commons as prime minister with rebel Conservative MPs joining with the opposition to take control of the parliamentary agenda, under a mechanism—Standing Order 24—which has been used increasingly as Britain’s Brexit crisis has intensified.
That means they will now have the time to try to get the Benn bill through. The anti-no deal legislation is expected to be forced through the Commons rapidly this afternoon.
So we’re pretty sure it will pass?
Probably. The 21 Tory MPs who rebelled have lost the whip, and are therefore now technically sitting as independents. They are likely to vote in favour of the bill.
And then it’s off to the red benches?
If it passes, the bill will then move to the House of Lords, where members expect to see scores of amendments in a Conservative bid to filibuster.
Various amendments are set to be debated in the Lords today to try to ensure that the Benn bill passes by Friday evening.
Rumours yesterday suggested that the number of amendments could be 92. Overnight, that’s become a far more reasonable, er, 86.
That will take a while!
Yes, it will.
Dick Newby, leader of the Lords Liberal Democrat group, posted to Twitter this morning that he’d brought in a duvet, change of clothes and shaving kit.
Arriving in Lords with duvet, change of clothes and shaving kit. Could take us a while to see off 86 wrecking amendments on timetable motion today/tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Knbxu1Odlf
— Dick Newby (@RichardNewby3) September 4, 2019
What do the motions say?
Well, all sorts of things—but one Labour motion is expected to be particularly controversial. Designed to speed up the passage of the bill in the Lords, it’s already faced strong criticism from Leave-leaning peers.
As Esther Webber of the Times explains, it’s a break with precedent—but also may accord with a decision made…