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Could the Lords reject Boris’s Brexit bill?

10 September 2020

5:16 AM

10 September 2020

5:16 AM

A senior Tory tells me the House of Lords will turn the Salisbury-Addison convention – which says the upper house won’t block legislation that stems from a government’s election manifesto – on its head, when it comes to the two bills amending the Withdrawal Agreement.

He points out that the Tory manifesto describes Boris Johnson’s renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement as ‘a great deal’ and ‘signed sealed and delivered’. There were no qualifications. So their lordships could rationally argue that by rejecting Johnson’s attempt to modify the WA, through the internal market and finance bills, they would be compelling him to honour the promise he made to the electorate. Far from breaching Salisbury-Addison, they would be embracing its underlying logic.

There is going to be one almighty battle between the government and the Lords, and who knows with what dramatic constitutional consequences.

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