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United Kingdom government suffers Brexit defeat

United Kingdom government suffers Brexit defeat

The Government has suffered a heavy defeat in the House of Lords after rebel peers backed a "wrecking amendment" which threatens to weaken Theresa May's negotiating hand and prevent the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May visits the Oxley Group in Ulverston Thomson Reuters LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May and her senior ministers agreed on Tuesday they were disappointed by decisions taken in the upper house of parliament that could block or delay Brexit, May's spokesman said, adding the government will respond robustly.

He also explained to BBC News that the amendment handed Parliament "unprecedented powers to direct the government in these negotiations... even keeping the United Kingdom in the European Union indefinitely".

The government maintains that it is open to Parliament being able to scrutinise the final deal, and has therefore committed to giving both Houses a vote on the final deal.

Liam Fox has accused Lords of trying to "thwart the will of the British people", after the government suffered a major defeat at their hands yesterday.

But former Conservative leader Lord Howard said the idea of effectively giving Parliament a veto over Brexit - which the public voted for in a 2016 referendum - was "fundamentally misconceived".

In December, MPs voted in favour of a legal right to have their say on the withdrawal deal.

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Writing for The Independent on Monday, peers Baroness Hayter, Lord Wallace and Lord Hannay said Parliament must be given the power to decide what happens if May's Brexit deal is rejected.

The amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will go to the Commons to be voted on by MPs.

Leavers' angry tirades against the vote were countered by passionate Remainers, such as Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, who called the vote "a hugely significant moment in the fight to ensure parliament has a proper role in the Brexit negotiations and that we avoid a no-deal situation".

He said: "Even the House of Lords last night rejected on a vote having another referendum".

"This amendment, which has cross-party support, would provide a safety net in the Brexit process".

'We want to succeed with the United Kingdom, not against the United Kingdom, ' said Mr Barnier, who is on a visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland.