Yvette Cooper’s no-deal Brexit bill was being considered in the House of Lords this evening, despite the efforts of pro-Brexit peers to ‘thwart’ it.
The bill, which aims to avoid no-deal by legally binding Prime Minister Theresa May into seeking an extension to Brexit beyond April 12, was subject to seven hours of procedural wrangling and debate.
Some peers delivered long speeches designed to eat up crucial debating time and prevent the bill from completing the necessary stages in time, a process known as filibustering.
The bill aims to avoid a no-deal Brexit by legally binding Prime Minister Theresa May into seeking an extension (Picture: AFP)Those who are opposed to the bill were hoping that by dragging the debate late into the night, the chamber would be forced to adjourn to Monday.
Such an outcome would endanger the already tight timetable to get it passed before next week’s emergency EU summit.
However, chief whip Lord Taylor of Holbeach announced a deal had been reached with the Labour Party, meaning the bill was able to be considered in full at its second reading.
The opposition accused pro-Brexit Tories of trying to ‘thwart’ the will of the House of Commons, which had passed the bill on Wednesday, by forcing a series of unsuccessful votes aimed at delaying the bill for greater scrutiny.
Conservative politician Lord Cormack speaking in the House of Lords on the European Union Withdrawal (Picture: AFP)Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, opposing Labour’s move to complete consideration of the bill in one day, said to jeers: ‘This has got nothing to do with Brexit.
This has to do with the procedures of the House.’
Meanwhile Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones of Moulsecoomb, alleged that many members of the House of Lords had ‘sneaked’ out the chamber to have their lunch.
Conservative politician Baroness Noakes speaking in the House of Lords on the European Union Withdrawal bill (Picture: AFP)Baroness Jones tweeted: ‘Many peers have sneaked away for lunch, having heard most of the Brexit arguments already, many times over.’
However, talks between the government and Labour to break the Brexit deadlock were ‘productive’ and will continue on Friday, Downing Street said.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s negotiating teams met for four-and-a-half hours in the Cabinet Office on Thursday for ‘detailed’ talks.