Scrap unelected House of Lords! Fury erupts as peers to meddle in Boris’ Brexit plan

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The Government is trying to get controversial legislation through the Houses of Parliament that would override key elements of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union. The Prime Minister is pressing ahead with the Bill which ministers voted in favour of in the House of Commons on Monday, despite strong opposition from his own Tory MPs towards it. Downing Street issued a huge warning to the Lords over any attempt to block the Internal Market Bill and said ministers believed the Salisbury Convention – which states the House of Lords should not vote down legislation to implement government manifesto commitments – should not apply to the Bill.

This warning is likely intended to try and prevent a similar situation which dogged Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement as she desperately tried to unsuccessfully get it voted through both Houses before her resignation last year.

Several high-profile peers have already warned the legislation will not pass through the Lords in its current form,

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, said the threats from peers to vote down the Internal Market Bill are “unsurprising”, branding the Remain majority in the Lords as “staggering”.

He said: “Threats from peers to block the Internal Market Bill is unsurprising given the House of Lords is made up of a compound of the political establishment of the last 30 years.

“The Remain majority that exists in Parliament as a whole is large, but in the Lords, it is staggering.

“As we have seen across Parliament, the Remain campaign is willing to do everything in its power to stop Brexit, even if it means directly opposing the will of the British people and democracy itself.”

Mr Harris-Quinney added that although the Lords would like to block important legislation from going through Parliament, “they have no public mandate” but added they will likely know any attempt to block it outright would “would almost certainly fail and lead to their collective demise”.

He said: “It doesn’t look good for the unelected to oppose the will of the elected, so they will doubtlessly try to delay or alter the legislation, but they will probably be mindful that trying to block it outright would almost certainly fail and lead to their collective demise.”

“In appointing another slew of cronies, this Government is not an innocent when it comes to the modern existence of the Lords. The modern House of Lords is a horrific political hash up.

“Any democracy essentially operates on a mandate from the public. The House of Lords has no mandate. Brexit has exposed the extent to which our political system isn’t fit for purpose and is completely unrepresentative of the British public.

“Whilst the House of Lords gives Governments a tool to reward their friends and supporters it casts an increasingly long shadow over the integrity of our democracy. It has to go, and it will inevitably be scrapped sooner or later.

“Whilst there might be short term pain, there are big long term political rewards for the Government that realises this and grasps the nettle.”

Patrick Sullivan, chief executive of the Westminster-based Parliament Street think tank, told “Lord Howard’s view that many of his fellow Conservative colleagues will be joining him in opposing the Internal Market Bill is wide of the mark.

“There are probably only around 30 Tory rebels that would be prepared to vote against this legislation. The Lords is getting in the way of vital legislation from going through.

“This is a case of Déjà vu if ever I have seen one. This is exactly what the Lords tried to do around the Withdrawal Bill. The peers are unelected with no direct accountability to the electorate.

“We did not leave one anti-democratic institution only to have our elected representatives thwarted from implementing legislation by another group of boring old men completely out of touch with the will of the people.”

Earlier this week, the House of Lords strongly defended its establishment and current operation in the wider UK political landscape.

A spokesman told “The House of Lords is a highly effective and busy Chamber, performing a vital role of improving legislation and holding the Government to account.

“Only today the House began detailed line-by-line examination of the Immigration and Social Security Bill which will determine how our immigration system works once the Brexit transition period ends, tomorrow we start on the Trade Bill, vital issues that require the close scrutiny for which the House is known.

“In the last financial year, the House considered 779 amendments to legislation and asked the Government 6,482 written questions.

“This is the important process of improving legislation and holding the Government to account in action.”

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