Lord Empey: If unelected peers keep rejecting the will of MPs over Brexit, it will cause a crisis

If the House of Commons reject the recent House of Lords votes,, they will send them back to peers, who will have to decide either to accept the decision of the Commons or reject them again. "This is where the crisis will deepen," says Lord Empey. "The House of Lords can do this, but at a considerable cost."
If the House of Commons reject the recent House of Lords votes,, they will send them back to peers, who will have to decide either to accept the decision of the Commons or reject them again. "This is where the crisis will deepen," says Lord Empey. "The House of Lords can do this, but at a considerable cost."
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Once again the House of Lords is in the eye of the political storm because of it inflicting a number of defeats on the government over the Brexit Bill.

It is not unusual for the House of Lords to reject proposals that come to it from the House of Commons — however the Commons accepts a majority of amendments that are made and goes on to incorporate them in legislation.

Lord Empey, the former Ulster Unionist Party leader

Lord Empey, the former Ulster Unionist Party leader

This, after all, is the legitimate role of a revising chamber, which the House of Lords is.

All Parliamentary Bills must pass both Houses of Parliament and the Brexit Bill is no exception.

This bill is different in so far as it arises because Parliament, including the House of Lords, passed the Referendum Bill which gave people the referendum choice on whether or not to leave the European Union.

Now, however, a significant number of peers are trying to row back from that decision and are seeking to reverse the referendum result.

I do not believe this is right or justified.

There are some aspects of this bill that do need amended, and already the government has acknowledged this by incorporating some of them and bringing forward their own amendments.

This is right and proper.

If the Commons reject the votes on Tuesday night as well as those already taken and more defeats to come, they will send them back to the House of Lords when peers will have to decide either to accept the decision of the Commons or reject them again.

This is where the crisis will deepen.

The House of Lords can do this, but at a considerable cost.

I firmly believe that at the end of the day the views of the elected House must prevail, but there are some here who are so determined for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union that they may not accept the decision of the Commons.

I hope this does not happen, but successive prime ministers have created the situation the government now finds itself in.

David Cameron filled the House of Lords with a disproportionate amount of Liberal Democrats — there are over 100 in the Lords yet only 12 in the Commons, and even averaging things over twenty or thirty years, Lib Dems never had those sort of numbers in the Commons.

They are more than double where they should be.

Consequently, the government is being consistently defeated because of this large wedge of pro remain Liberals that continues to distort the political balance of the House.

It will be late May or early June before we know how this will play out, meanwhile the European Union and Mr Barnier look on in amazement at how the United Kingdom is conducting itself in the negotiations against a background of having no majority in either House of Parliament.

How we are expected to get a good deal in the negotiations against this background, heaven knows!

• Lord Empey, formerly Reg Empey, is a past leader of the Ulster Unionist Party who now sits in the House of Lords as a representative of that party