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Government sparks row with 'pathetic' threat to abolish Lords over Brexit bill

Government sparks row with 'pathetic' threat to abolish Lords over Brexit bill”

The Government's former Brexit chief has threatened the House of Lords with the prospect of abolition it tries to delay Article 50.

"The EU partners have an interest in not using them in a vindictive manner", the former cabinet secretary and cross-bench peer said during a debate in the House of Lords on Thursday.

The Brexit secretary spoke out after the government bill to trigger Article 50 was last night overwhelmingly backed by MPs, 494 votes against 122, and is now set to pass to the upper chamber. That means that she could be forced by the British Parliament to go back to the European Union and renegotiate a better deal if the one she obtains does not satisfy legislators.

Each was defeated, although during the process the government was forced to promise lawmakers a vote on the final Brexit deal before it is concluded.

More news: United Kingdom service sector growth eases in Jan, optimism at 1½-year high

Last month May promised to seek Parliament's approval of the final exit terms in 2019, but said that even if it rejected the deal, Britain would leave the EU. Seven other amendments would cover a range of other matters, from Britain's membership of Euratom, a nuclear cooperation agreement, to the rights of European Union citizens resident in Britain.

But some 52 Labour MPs rebelled in Wednesday's vote, including business spokesman Clive Lewis who resigned shortly beforehand, bringing a fresh headache for embattled leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Till now, the bill had cleared two days of debate in the UK Parliament's Lower House without being altered.

A bruising battle in the 650-member House of Commons, in which the government has only a 14-seat majority, was ultimately avoided not because Mrs May was particularly adroit at managing legislators, but because the opposition Labour party ordered its MPs to vote with the government.

More news: Brexit Bill Vote: Article 50 Legislation Clears First Hurdle in Commons

An amendment calling for a second referendum was introduced by the Liberal Democrats.

SNP lawmakers voiced their frustration during the vote by singing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", the EU's anthem, before being told off by Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

Labour in the Lords has said it will examine but not block the Bill but the line is unlikely to hold for all of its peers.

More news: Survey cuts FY17 growth to 6.5%, urges lower tax



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