Brexiteer Lords try to thwart law forcing May to request EU exit delay

LONDON (Reuters) – Pro-Brexit lawmakers in Britain’s upper house of parliament tried on Thursday to thwart the approval of a new law that would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a delay to prevent a disorderly EU exit on April 12 without a deal.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the Parliament in London, Britain April 3, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

May has already committed to seek a short extension to Britain’s European Union membership and work with the opposition Labour Party to come up with a different exit plan, in a last-ditch attempt to keep control after her own Brexit deal was rejected three times by the lower House of parliament.

But lawmakers have used an unprecedented procedural gambit to pass legislation without the approval of government, seeking additional legal guarantees that May will not give up and lead Britain out of the bloc without a deal.

The bill passed through the lower chamber, the House of Commons, by a single vote late on Wednesday and is now in the House of Lords, an unelected body whose role is to refine and scrutinise legislation before it is approved.

The process of passing the bill through the Lords got off to a rocky start on Thursday when some members of the debating chamber – also known as peers – launched a series of attempts to delay or even halt the process.

“All that lies between us and tyranny is that we respect the conventions of both Houses,” said Michael Forsyth, a pro-Brexit Conservative member of the Lords, accusing Labour Party spokeswoman Dianne Hayter of setting a dangerous precedent to try and block Brexit.


By long-standing convention,

 »