Fight for soft Brexit or no Brexit hots up via House of Lords defeat

Published:  20 Apr at 6 PM
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The fight for a soft Brexit or even a withdrawal from Brexit is hotting up as campaign groups in support of UK expats in Europe and even the British government’s House of Lords are coming out in favour of defeating Theresa May’s vision for the country.

Earlier this week, the British parliament’s Upper House inflicted an embarrassing defeat on May in the matter of the PM’s determination to include leaving the European Customs Union and its single market as part of her vision for Brexit. Her stance had already caused splits in the Conservative party to widen, as are divisions amongst the electorate as Brexit’s cost to the economy, jobs and British citizens becomes clearer.

By a healthy majority of 123 votes, the Lords demonstrated their support for an amendment to May’s EU withdrawal bill aimed at forcing cabinet ministers to declare their efforts to secure a customs union by late this year. In response, the government stated its policy will not be changed. The defeat is expected to be one of several over the coming weeks as support for either a soft Brexit or a second referendum grows.

After the House of Lords debate ends, the bill will be sent back the Commons, where it’s expected to create even more dissention due to the Lords’ reaction to its contents. An increasing number of MPs are concerned over the threat to UK businesses of losing the free movement of goods between EU member states. Numbers of MPs are now also supporting a vote by the British people on the terms of the final Brexit deal, as are anti-Brexit campaign groups supporting the rights of Britons living and working in the EU.

At the same time, Brussels is showing concerns about EU citizens’ post-Brexit rights in the UK, citing the Windrush scandal as a possible preceptor for their removal by Home Office officials. EU Brexit negotiators are worried that a new British immigration system could trap EU expat residents into becoming targets for deportation in much the same way as are nationals of the then British Caribbean islands who were invited to come to the UK to help rebuild the nation after the end of WWII.
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