Fury as peer vows to ‘FRUSTRATE’ Brexit as Lords hit out at Government’s ‘suicide note’

Posted on Feb 22 2018 - 7:34am by admin

The outbursts came during the first day of committee stage debate in the House, which will see them go through the Brexit bill line by line.

And Viscount Hailsham caused alarm among Brexiteers when he said he would do all he could to “frustrate” Government policy.

He said: “There is nothing that was said in the referendum that obliges this house, or Parliament in general, to do something which is deeply prejudicial to our national interests.

“I believe that from time to time one has to put one’s assessment of the national interest before any other consideration, most particularly before one’s assessment of one’s party interests.”

He said: “It is the business of Parliament to form a judgment and we must not shunter behind constitutional niceties in order to refrain from doing our duty. 

“I will certainly do whatever I can to ensure that we remain as close as possible to a customs union, and if I could I would also frustrate the policy of Brexit.”

The former Minister of Agriculture also likened Brexit to a “deflating tyre”.

He told peers: “I’ve never thought that Brexit was a car crash, but I do believe that it takes the form of a seriously deflating tyre and it’s going to cause the same kind of trouble.”

The viscount, Douglas Hogg, is infamous for claiming more than £2,000 in taxpayers’ money to have his moat cleaned.

And his comments sparked fierce criticism on social media with some claiming the Lords were trying to “hold up” the vital legislation.

Viscount Hailsham lashed out at the Government

GETTY/PARLIAMENT TVViscount Hailsham lashed out at the Government

One Brexiteer tweeted: “Unelected, unaccountable and doesn’t speak for anyone but himself and his fellow cronies. 

“The House of Lords need to be replaced with an elected chamber.”

Meanwhile, crossbencher Lord Carlile of Berriew, a criminal lawyer, said the Brexit analysis papers were a “real suicide note”.

He told the chamber: “I’ve seen real suicide notes and I’ve seen fake suicide notes.

“This was most certainly not a fake suicide note but it is most certainly a real suicide note.

 Lord Carlile was critical of Brexit policyPARLIAMENT TV

Lord Carlile was critical of Brexit policy

“I read it with enormous concern. I am absolutely astonished, and indeed rather insulted, that Her Majesty’s Government does not regard the documents as being essentially disclosable in the public interest.

“Every member of the public should have the opportunity to read them, to understand what I mean by a suicide note.”

Lord Lamont of Lerwick, the Tory former chancellor and Eurosceptic, defended leaving the customs union, saying the UK would be free to sign trade agreements with other countries.

He was asked about the Government’s impact assessments, which showed a new Canada-style free trade agreement between Britain and the EU would result in much lower growth compared to remaining part of the bloc.

Lord Lamont said: “I’m not just going to be persuaded by a piece of paper with a statistic.

The Lords are debating the EU Withdrawal BillPARLIAMENT TV

The House of Lords are debating the EU Withdrawal Bill

“Noble members jeer, but are they really going to say that a piece of paper just with a statistic somehow analyses the problem.”

He added: “If you have a free trade agreement, you have access to the market. What is the disadvantage about it?

“The disadvantage, and I’m going to come to this point, is you have to trade against that the inconvenience of rules of origin.

“That is what it comes down to. Balancing the arguments, the advantages of free trade, against the costs and rules of origin.”

The Lords are expected to spend 10 or 11 days going through the legislation in fine detail. So far, 371 amendments have been tabled to the Bill.

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