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THE government suffered a heavy defeat in the House of Lords today over controversial Brexit legislation that would enable ministers to break international law.
Peers backed — by 395 votes to 169, a majority of 226 — a “regret” amendment to the Internal Market Bill.
The amendment condemns the contentious provisions of the Bill and warns that they “would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom.”
The Lords defeat sets the scene for a showdown between the unelected chamber and the Commons and the likelihood of protracted parliamentary “ping pong” in which legislation is passed between the two houses.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, former Commons speaker Baroness Boothroyd and Conservative former leader Lord Howard of Lympne were among many in the upper house to criticise the Bill, which has already cleared the Commons despite opposition from some senior Tories.
The legislation sets out the way that trade within Britain will work once it is outside the EU’s single market and customs union.
But it also contains powers that give ministers the opportunity to override the Brexit divorce deal, something the government has acknowledged would breach international law.
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