The House of Lords has been warned not to make further changes to the Brexit bill as it will make it easier for the European Union (EU) to give Britain a bad deal.
Peers are expected to pass a second amendment to the bill later this week calling on the government to give parliament a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal, sparking fears EU leaders will see the prime minister’s hands as tied, and therefore take advantage.
David Lidington, leader of the House of Commons, said the government would give parliament a vote on the final deal anyway, and the amendment was unnecessary.
“Any idea that the PM’s freedom to negotiation is limited, any idea that if the EU 27 were to play hardball that somehow means that parliament would try to reverse the referendum verdicts, and to set aside the views of the British people,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Politics.
“That would almost guarantee that it would be much more difficult to get the sort of ambitious, mutually beneficial deal for us and for the EU 27 that we want.”
His words came as Conservative MP Bob Neil suggested he may back the amendment when the bill comes back to the House of Commons, sparking fears a rebellion by pro-EU Tories could see the amendment pass.
He said he and others may back the amendment unless the government gives a strong guarantee parliament will get a final say on the deal.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday, Mr. Neil said: “I want something that specifies not only the timing of the vote, which I think we have got now – because it goes to the European side and the European Parliament for ratification – but I also want it made clear that there is a vote on whether or not there is a deal or no deal.
“If there is no deal, that means that we would potentially leave the EU straight on to World Trade Organization terms and without any transitional arrangements. I believe that would be deeply damaging for this country and I think parliament should have the right to consider that.”