House of Lords vetoes a 'no deal' Brexit

Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Liam Fox Secretary of State for International Trade attend the first cabinet meeting following the Re Shuffle at Downing Street on May 1

It was seventh of nine defeats in the last two weeks for the government, which says the European Union withdrawal bill is purely a technical document to "copy and paste" European Union law into British law and guarantee a smooth Brexit.

Trade secretary Liam Fox hit back Tuesday, saying: "I think there's a very big debate now about whether the unelected house can actually thwart the view of the British electorate in a referendum and... legislation coming from the House of Commons".

The EU's backstop proposal, which would mean Northern Ireland staying in the customs union and much of the single market, has been rejected by the UK.

During the debate, Tory spokesman Lord Callanan said Parliament's vote would be binding and if it did reject the deal, the Article 50 process - determining the timetable for leaving - would "kick in" and the United Kingdom would leave.

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His amendment was passed by a majority of 91 on Monday, and follows a House of Lords vote to keep the United Kingdom in the Customs Union, and represents the seventh Brexit defeat for the government.

They also supported a move to give Parliament approval of the mandate for negotiations over the UK's future relationship with the European Union and backed a post-Brexit system that enables lone child refugees to join family members living in the UK.

It would spell the end of the "take it or leave it" approach promised by ministers, under which the only alternative to accepting a deal thrashed out by Mrs May and Brussels would be the United Kingdom leaving without a deal.

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit Secretary, described the vote to The Guardian as "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".

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"If Parliament votes down the Article 50 deal, then Parliament must decide what happens next".

The Prime Minister has always insisted that MPs and peers would be offered a choice between accepting an exit agreement or allowing Britain to leave the bloc without any deal. Twenty-four Conservative peers rebelled against the prime minister and joined with the opposition in supporting the amendment.

Senior Tory backbencher Sarah Wollaston said Brexiteers wanted to "take back control" to the United Kingdom but "Parliament won't support a hard Brexit".

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