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Government suffers further Lords defeat over Brexit bill

The government faces a further Brexit scrap in parliament on Wednesday after the House of Lords voted today to allow MPs the final say on what happens if the government does not come to a deal with the EU.

The amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill passed by 354 votes to 235.

It means that there will be a further House of Commons debate on the issue on Wednesday.

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The amendment was proposed by former Conservative cabinet minister Viscount Hailsham, who in his speech to the house said: “I dont believe in Brexit. I think its a national calamity.”

He described the amendment as “Grieve two”, referring to the proposals introduced last week by former Attorney General and ardent Remainer Dominic Grieve.

The so-called “meaningful vote” for parliament would be triggered if MPs vote down the UK-EU Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May announces before 21 January 2019 that no deal has been struck or if 21 January passes with no deal being reached.

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Brexit minister Lord Callanan told peers that while he welcomed the input of the House of Lords, too much parliamentary wrangling threatened a successful deal with the EU.

"We simply cannot hold up the already tight negotiating timetable by providing for a further approval process, and as the Secretary of State said the government cannot demonstrate the flexibility necessary for a successful negotiation if its hands are tied midway through the process.

"That would do nothing but guarantee a bad deal for this country.

"It must be for the government, not parliament, to set our goals for the negotiations on the UK's exit from the EU and to conduct them," he said.

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