James Forsyth

Government suffers Lords defeat on Brexit bill

Government suffers Lords defeat on Brexit bill
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This government has just suffered its first defeat of the parliament in, unsurprisingly, the House of Lords. The Lords voted for the Oates amendment which entitles EU nationals to a physical document attesting to their right to stay in the UK after Brexit.

In truth, the government and the Lords aren’t that far apart on this question. The government thinks that a digital database is sufficient while peers want a physical piece of paper. But it is the willingness of the Lords to defeat the government on this question that is most interesting.

The word from the House of Lords is that peers will back down once the Commons strips this amendment out. But there was a desire to show that the Lords is still determined to carry out its scrutiny function.

This tussle between the Lords and Commons will, I suspect, be resolved fairly easily. There will, though, be far more protracted fights when it comes to any possible change to the role of the Supreme Court and other matters that will fall within the scope of the government’s planned Constitution, Rights and Democracy Commission.