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The real problem for TMay from last night’s vote could be when the Brexit bill goes to the Lords

December 14th, 2017

The revolt could give their Lordships more confidence to make their own amendments

James Forsyth’s latest Spectator podcast makes a very good point about one consequence of last night’s Commons rebellion – it will make it much harder for the bill to get through the Upper House unamended.

It is clear that there is a fairly strong majority amongst against Brexit amongst peers but the government always felt that if Lords received the bill which had not been altered against its will it would be harder for the unelected peers to overrule what MPs had decided.

That has now changed thanks to the success of the rebellion last night and we could see a tricky period as an emboldened Upper House seeks to make its impression on the legislation.

It only requires one amendment opposed by the government to get through the Lords and we get into ping pong between the two houses of Parliament.

This was very much realised in Mrs Mays statement when she called the general election last April.

Another problem that the government might have is that there are now three investigations going on into aspects of the leave campaign. As well as the two into the funding by the Electoral Commission another one is being undertaken by the Information Commissioner relating to the use of data.

If these start to be upheld then you can hear the argument developing that the Leave victory, by 1.9% above the 50% threshold, does not have the same democratic legitimacy as has been suggested.

Mike Smithson