Lords pass Brexit Bill unanimously

Parliament has now spoken. A large majority for Brexit in the Commons is now matched by a unanimous vote in the Lords.

The Supreme Court has succeeded in delaying the letter but not in stopping it. As I thought at the time of the discussions on the Supreme Court decision it is the view of Parliament we should send the letter. If it had not been Parliament would have said so and voted accordingly prior to the Court decision.

I expect the Lords to approve the Bill at third reading in a similar way. It would be odd indeed if they changed  their minds after yesterdays important vote.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    My suggestion is to get the Art. 50 notice in asap then step back quickly to keep out of the way of the implosion. Senior clerks in the EU appear to be in despair. Perhaps just keep the trade deal making department so that bi-lateral deals can be agreed quickly.

  2. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
    £300 per day to finance the most expensive care home in the world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      £300 tax free.

      I think HMRC allows employers to pay subsistence of about £5 for a meal maximum tax free, and then only when away from the office on business, still we are all in it together as they keep lying to us.

  3. agricola
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It clears the air. Not even the Fallon/Sturgeon cabal can say that it has not been done correctly. No doubt they will wish to play with a second referendum, but now everyone has spoken. QED.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      The real problems will come after the two years, and that will be quite close to an election.

      If May and Hammond continue with their tax borrow and piss down the drain, interventionist, expensive energy, vanity project, gender pay reporting, workers on company boards, we will build further on EU employment regulations, central wage controls, tax increasing socialism the economy will not be such good shape by then either.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        L/L Agree with you. And if they don’t get around the problems in the NHS and elderly social care too.

  4. Mick
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    After watching the 2 day debate in the hol the conclusion I’ve come to as well as the hoc is that ministers and lords don’t want the power to get rid of them by the people, in that I mean ministers won’t be able to blame the eu for laws and interference, but that the buck stops at the elected persons door, so if we don’t like what they do we can get rid of them at a GE and they carn’t say “well it’s not me but Brussels my hands were tied” .
    Then listening to them complaining about the rights of foreign nationals, sorry but you should concentrate on our people abroad or don’t they matter , and yes if you like they are bargaining chips , that’s not our making, and let Mrs May get on with the job of implementing article 50 asap.

  5. anon
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    “Unanimous” I’m gobsmacked! Didn’t Mandelson and Kinnock ………….. vote against it?

    Reply No-one voted against it

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      They are biding their time, the problems will come in two years time.

    • acorn
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      This was just second reading, the Lords will spend even more hours in committee stage, trying to gain some concessions; but nothing will materially change the Bill.

      There will have been hours and hours of talking with little or no value added to the Bill. The “executive” rules in the UK democracy OK. The HoC costs circa £340,000 per sitting hour to produce all that hot air. The HoL circa £100,000 per sitting hour.

      What is the point of having 1,400 plus party whipped legislators at Westminster, who only ever rubber stamp what the “executive” wants?

      Reply Legislators do not always obey the whips, and we do have influence on what we are whipped to support

  6. alan jutson
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I had listened to the early morning news this morning and was completely unaware of the result you mention.

    It eventually got a 10 seconds airing on daytime BBC news, but not until 10 mins into the news programme and after they highlighted many more insignificant items of regional news.

    During the 10 second burst it was finished with the rider that the Lords believe they can delay and stop Brexit at the committee stage.

    Thus I cannot really comment other than to say, if they have passed it, then at least common sense has eventually prevailed.

    What a disgrace the BBC is proving to be.

    • Know-dice
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      And nothing on the BBC website either

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I listened to Radio 4 Today programme from 8.00 to 9.00 hoping to hear the outcome of the Lords’ vote. Unless I’m mistaken and my hearing has packed up, there wasn’t a single mention of it.

      • Mockbeggar
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        There was, however, a very interesting contribution from Stefan Mayer of the German CDU party who was clearly furious about the Juncker rant about our paying £50bn ‘divorce settlement’ as he very wisely recognises that a ‘no agreement’ exit will hit Germany (and others) far more than the UK. The Brussels Commissariat have completely lost the plot it seems to me.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          If we are asked for £50 billion on exit then I am sure there must be roads and schools in Lithuania and others Eastern European countries (and Spain and Portugal) that we should be able to put toll booths on. It was our net funding that paid for them.

          If liabilities are to be ongoing then so be it. We might also lay claim to one of the parliaments, they only really need one (if that) and we did pay for it.

      • hefner
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Mockbeggar, the so-called “Westminster Hour” is on Radio4 from 23:00 to 24:00. It has been reporting on the debate in the Lords among other things.

        • Mockbeggar
          Posted February 23, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Thanks for that, but it’s a bit too near bedtime for me!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      What a disgrace the BBC always is. Wrong on every issue – the EU, the size of the state, the desire for more regulation of everything, the magic money tree agenda, climate alarmism “science” and expensive energy by design, open door unselective immigration, higher taxes everywhere, religious segregation in schools ……. do they ever get anything right?

      Lots of dim lefty, innumerate art graduates with chips on their shoulders.

  7. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    In retrospect, one is left wondering what did all these people opposing Brexit since 23 June think they would achieve, as distinct from what they wanted. They have said nothing new. they have had their opportunities several times over to make a case for Remain. They have failed. Up with which, how much more must we put (in the manner of WSC)?

    We still have Branson, Blair, Kinnock et al plotting in the background and another court case on the single market, so it is not over yet.

    Whose interests do they think they are serving?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      And in the meantime even 42% of those who voted Remain have become reconciled to the referendum decision and agree that the government should just get on with it, a shift in public opinion which seems to have escaped those who still claim that the population is divided 52% to 48% when it is not, it is 82% to 18%.


      “Dominic Raab MP: Blair has lost touch with the British people”

      • Mark B
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Personally I think he’s lost touch full stop.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Whose interests do they think they are serving? Well that is certainly very clear they have dedicated their lives to it.

  8. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    What great news John. Such a relief. Let’s hope that future negotiations go well too. We are on our way and look forward to Article 50 being implemented in March.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Whatever is decided in the Lords is nothing but further time lost . The short sequence that I watched of the debate there yesterday did nothing to convince me that the function of the Lords was effective or necessary . It is a costly and complete waste of public funds . Un-elected bodies of any sort are no longer a feature of the public’s interest .

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Yes but David Davis wants to keep the immigration flood gates open. Can you imagine how cheesed off every one will be if this happens?

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      I have never been clear about immigration and the rules, but surely if people are waiting to get their working visas and have full paid jobs to come to where they contribute tax and national insurance as well as their skills into the UK they are welcome.

      I have more concern about people who don’t follow the rules, break the system, then expect EU rules to help them stay and bring in partners, surely expecting people to earn over £18,500 pa before they bring in relatives they support is a good policy and shouldn’t be overturned, otherwise they become a burden because of our tax credits, there should be two levels of child and tax credits and they should be contributory after building up five years worth of contributions.

      Then I wonder do we ever ask people to leave, if people are up in arms in America about illegal immigrants being deported how are they living and earning their wages if they are not registered for tax in the USA and who is ultimately benefiting from that illegal working? There must be a proper way to enter the USA and get working visa and pay your taxes legally, people defending the illegal immigrants it makes me wonder how they became citizens.

      If we want to allow free immigration we need to change our benefits system and that is in the control of the UK Government not the EU government so why aren’t we just getting on with it?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      The great majority who want an end to the present human Ponzi scheme will be very cheesed off if the government decides to continue it. On the other hand the existing migrant workforce will undergo natural shrinkage as some decide to return home, and others decide to cease working for a variety of reasons, some of which will be good reasons, and until employers have been weaned off their present reliance on endless supplies of cheap and biddable foreign workers it will be necessary to limit the rate of decline by allowing in replacements. However once we have regained control it should be made perfectly clear to the new incoming foreign workers that they are not being invited to settle here permanently, they are being allowed to live and work here for a strictly limited period.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        I 100% agree.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Also they can work for the hourly rate advertised. No additional tax credits, housing benefit or other top ups that those living here can avail themselves. If the wages offered are insufficient don’t come. Businesses that can not recruit on these terms are welcome to train those living here or offer immigrants higher wages.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        I agree and existing EU nationals resident in the UK should not gain additional rights or benefits than they are currently allowed.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      iain. Well I will be for one.

  11. margaret
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Interesting comments from Lord Lamont who talked about how he was instrumental in joining the EU fed in the first place. He said that it is not us who have changed our minds , but the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Well even as a young teenager I would not have joined. E Powell, Peter Shore and Tony Benn had far better arguments than Heath and Wilson.

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    But it’s gone to Committee Stage, when attempts will be made to amend it and hobble the government … as I saw several noble Lords say, just because the people voted to leave in a referendum that doesn’t mean the debate is over.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      “doesn’t mean the debate is over”

      I think you’ll find this is called democracy.

      The 1975 EU referendum didn’t silence those who disagreed with its outcome. Why should anything be different this time around?

      Reply I and others agreed that the UK wanted to stay in a common market, and we accepted the verdict of the people. When it became clear we were being forced into a monetary,economic and political union we naturally protested about that. This time we were told Leave means out of the EU and its single market, which is what we will deliver.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply. I think you’ll find that 99.9% of us John are right behind you on that one. I don’t care what happens to my holiday money, or the fact that we will have border controls or anything else. I want OUT.

        • HopefulSoutherner
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink


      • Mark B
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        There is, on YouTube, a video where both Enoch Powell and Jim Prior, later joined by Willy Whitelaw, gave an interview to the Robin Day on the night of that referendum. Enoch Powell gave a brilliant reasons why those on his side should continue the fight. They were:

        That the electorate did not fully understand that which they were being asked to assent to.

        That no Parliament can bind another and that our membership of the then EEC was dependant on parliament giving its continued approval to membership.

        It is a wonderful interview and I do recommended people search for it. It is an interview conducted with great politeness and respect. Something that seems to have been lost. Sadly.

        Enoch Powell’s predicted that one day, when the people finally realised that they had been conned, would vote to leave the EU. I only wish he and Lady Thatcher were a live to see the beginning of the end to our membership of the EU.

  13. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink


  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The Lords passing the Brexit bill unanimously is so irrelevant that it’s not being reported anywhere – as you well know they are keeping their power dry for a battle in 2 years time, they hope based on amendments they force through now.

    Reply It is not irrelevant. In the light of the Supreme Court judgement we needed a Lords vote to approve the letter, which they gave yesterday and will doubtless give again on 3rd reading.

  15. Simon
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    What vote ?

    It has not even reached the committee stage.

    Reply It was unanimously approved at second reading! That is the big vote on the principles of the legislation.

    • Simon
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      The devil is in the detail – in this case the amendments. A vote to go to the next stage is in those circumstances is hardly headline stuff and may well be premature. Baroness Hayter I think made it clear the votes for amendments look as though they are in the bag. The Govt refused to concede even as a hypothetical possibility that Art 50 could or would be revoked in any circumstances. It is now therefore inevitable the Lords will insist on final legislation. They do not to me look as though they are ready to give a carte blanche. In my view – quite rightly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      That rather depends on whether you consider:


      “Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.”

      to constitute a “vote”.

      Personally I wouldn’t; I’d say that it was passed without a vote, or without the need for a formal vote or division; but I accept that it could be described as a vote.

      I note this from the government spokesman winding up:

      “… the Bill before this House is just 137 words long, yet it has been the subject of almost 20 hours of debate and it is, and has been, an historic debate. On my rough calculation, about 1,000 words have been spoken for each word in the Bill …”

      And probably about 990 of those 1000 words had already been spoken during the many hours of debate in the Commons. Was there anything new, any important point that the elected MPs had overlooked, to convince us that it is worth paying for a second “revising” chamber to scrutinise legislation?

      Reply Please try to understand Parliamentary procedure if you want to comment on it. There was a substantive motion to read the Bill a second time, which means accept all its principles and purposes. If peers wanted to stop the letter/Bill or wanted to substantially alter it then they either had to vote No, or vote Aye to a reasoned amendment to the motion. They all decided not to table or move an amendment, and not to vote against, so the motion was passed unanimously.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        But with the caveat that the Bill may be amended in Committee Stage.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Dear John–From what you say, more like nem con by my lights, or perhaps deemed to have been passed unanimously–Very very very clearly not of one mind

        Reply In the Lords and Commons if you do not vote against or a force a division to abstain, you are in favour of the motion.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Dear John–Yes–BUT being procedurally in favour is not the same as being of one mind, which is what unanimous means or should mean. This is Parliament and one might expect the highest standards of word meaning

      • Mark B
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        Serious question !

        What potential banana skins to Art.50 are there with regard to procedures in both houses ?

        Reply Only if the Lords passed a wrecking amendment and then refused to back down over it, which they are not going to do given the strength of the popular mandate from the referendum and the democratic mandate from the Commons

        • Mark B
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          Many thanks.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        John – I understand this, if the vote was as important and significant as you say it was then it would not have been passed unanimously.

        Reply It was important and unanimous

        • APL
          Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          Let’s get the life peers expelled from the Lords.

          They can keep their title, but no remuneration from the public purse at all. Nothing at all, no right to sit in the Lords either.

          There seem to be 760 individuals who are eligible to sit in the Lords, that includes 92 hereditary peers.

          Let’s reduce the Lords to 92 hereditary and 92 Life peers, the latter can be elected by popular mandate.

          These elected peers could be remunerated on a similar basis to Members of the HoC.

  16. Oggy
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    That may well be, but I’ve just read the numerous Lords Amendments scheduled to be debated at next weeks committee stage, and some of them are quite blatant and obvious attempts to keep us in the single market, have a second referendum and if they don’t like our exit strategy then withdrawing our ‘resignation’ letter.
    Basically trying to keep us in the EU by any means possible.
    It will be interesting to see how many get approved – what do you think Dr Redwood ?
    Lords Amendments…….

    Reply I would anticipate no more than two amendments might be approved, with a possibility none will pass. The Commons will then vote them out of the Bill again, as we did when we considered them the first time.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      They cannot realistically demand that the UK government maintain access to the Single Market, as it is not in their gift. Similarly once the UK issues Art.50 there is no way back ! We would have to apply as a new member and, we would lose ALL our Opt-Outs / Ins including not adopting the EURO.

      The last part needs to be made clear to one and all.

      • Mark
        Posted February 23, 2017 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        There is one rather unlikely way back: the EU makes a wonderful offer for us to stay on greatly improved terms which they are unanimously agreed on. But they need to change their tune very fast if that is to succeed, as full unanimous agreement and our consent has to be achieved before the two year guillotine falls. I don’t see it somehow…

  17. Horatio McSherry
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink


    As someone who watched a good deal of the debate for my sins, I have to say, also as someone who thought the Lords were out of touch, I was genuinely staggered by the things I heard. Some Lords were close to tears during their diatribes, but most were furious at the public and most didn’t even try to hide their contempt.

    Particularly noteworthy were Lord Thomas of Swynnerton, who said he was still bound by the first referendum in 1975 as no-one could tell him how long a referendum is binding for. (He seemed to miss the obvious point that, that referendum wasn’t binding). And, Baroness Henig, who compared the referendum result to the appeasement of Hitler in 1938. The jist of it all was:

    “The public are stupid; we hate them! The government is stupid; we hate them! Don’t take our specific interet’s free money away! Make them all vote again!”

    • Mark B
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      At last, something on the BBC that I might want to watch 🙂

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 23, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Watching it would be a form of penance for your sins.

  18. Amanda
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Pleased to hear it, and another added bonus is that we are all getting a good lesson in how our Government works.

    Talking of which, the House of Lords needs reform – I am all for a chamber that scrutinises legislation – but a key criteria should be that it is done for the benefit of the United Kingdom. Not political parties, not parts of the UK, and most definately not for Foreign Powers or people !! It needs slimming down to a group who have a focus on that – anyone who shows they are partisan is out !!

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    They say it is not all over until the fat lady sings and there are plenty of scheming malcontents and subversives who will go to any lengths to keep the fat lady mute. Their scheming has already seen them trying to subvert the democratic will of the people through the use of legal and political shenanigans which will continue unabated until they gain control of the Brexit process. Their actions speaks volumes about their character and defines that it is not conducive to being honourable or reasonable. That they have contempt for democracy and believe that the people should bow to the will of their enlightened benign despotism as enshrined in the institutions of the EU.

  20. nigel seymour
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The PM and Liddington attending HOL first day – absolute master class in political manoeuvring.

    a thinly veiled threat: an indiscreet warning
    veiled means ‘hidden’, ‘covered’.
    thinly means ‘lightly’.
    threat means ‘warning’, ‘menace’.

  21. rose
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Well, Mr Redwood, you are well and truly vindicated and the Supreme and High Courts have egg all over their faces. (Except for the wise three.) Pity it all had to cost us so much when we haven’t exactly got cash to spare.

    On the positive side, it was nice to see just how many sensible and pleasant people there still are in the Lords. Sally Oppenheim was the best surprise, with her anecdote about Ken Clarke. And Nigel Dobbs and Nick True were very good too. Disappointing speech from Robert Armstrong though.

    I was mystified by their being no “result” : but now all is revealed! Just too shaming for the broadcasters to report.

    • rose
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, there.

      • rose
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        And Michael, not Nigel.

  22. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I wish Dithering Doris had just sent the b****y letter, if she had sent it right away we wouldn’t be in this farce.

    But we would much rather talk, and debate than ‘do’ in this country. No wonder we fall further and further behind the rest of the world.

    Still no third runway, still no new roads, or properly widened ones, still no new railways, (except for German ones), and everything still for sale. Still selling out the Stock Exchange to Germany I read. How is that taking back control? But then City spivs run the show, don’t they?

    Lions led by donkeys.

  23. Mick
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Unless I’ve missed it but I haven’t heard anything or read anything about the lords debate today, mind you I’m not surprised from the eu loving BBC / Sky or eu loving papers, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if the lords had gone against Brexit it would have been end to end coverage, or am I being cynical ?

  24. hefner
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr Redwood for his various comments as most of us, I would guess, do not know the intricacies of how a text is handled in Parliament.

  25. Mark Watson
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t seen this reported anywhere

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Mark Watson

      I doubt you will see it reported anywhere especially on the BBC as it is not what they wanted and they would not want to tell the public it is going so well.

  26. Mark
    Posted February 23, 2017 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I see the Sun is suggesting there may be some compromise because of yet another threat from the legal fraternity. Why they should have power in the matter escapes me – they have already ruled and disagreed in doing so. Mrs May has already promised a vote on any exit deal. Now they seem to want a vote even if an exit deal is incomplete. Perhaps someone should explain to them that under Article 50, the EU has an obligation to negotiate and conclude an exit agreement that survives our exit under the guillotine, since they are still bound by the Treaties.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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