Peers voted by 349 to 221 to approve a further change to the European Union Withdrawal Bill.
The latest crossbench amendment is designed to rein in proposed powers which the Government says are needed to allow ministers to amend laws and deliver a “smooth and orderly Brexit”.
But critics warned accepting the Bill as it stands would surrender too much power to the Government.
Before the vote, former Labour attorney general Lord Goldsmith told peers they had a “responsibility” to ensure ministers are granted no more power than required to achieve their Brexit objectives.
But Brexit minister Lord Callanan warned that the amendment could ultimately lead to worse policy outcomes after the divorce with Brussels.
Today’s defeat is the sixth suffered by Theresa May’s Government since the Brexit Bill moved in to the report stage just a week ago.
Supporters of the amendment warned the Brexit Bill had been drafted to grant ministers far too much scope to introduce new rules.
To limit the Government’s power, the House of Lords voted to change the wording to only allow ministers to set new regulations where it is “necessary”, rather than “appropriate”.
Crossbench peer Lord Lisvane said: “I accept ‘necessary’ is a high bar but ‘appropriate’ is a bar so low that it would challenge even the most lithe and determined limbo dancer.”
He said the problem with the Bill as it stood was to do with the “balance of power” between the Government and Parliament.
He added: “Whichever side of the Brexit argument they stand, people might reasonably believe that ‘taking back control’ would be under the sovereignty of Parliament rather than ceding swathes of power to the Executive.”
Arguing against the amendment, Lord Callanan said: “It should not be the role of a minister to be a statutory firefighter, dousing deficiencies in the statute book only where it is absolutely necessary, instead I would argue that a more proactive role is the only way that we can ensure the best possible outcomes for the statute book.”
Before the vote, Lord Goldsmith said: “If this House has a responsibility it is I would respectfully suggest to ensure that we do not give the executive more power than is necessary in order to achieve their objectives – this amendment would achieve that.”
Today’s amendment can still be overturned in the Commons, but serves as another reminder of the deep divisions in Parliament over Brexit.
The Lords has previously voted against the Government in a bid to keep the UK tied to the EU through a customs union.
More to follow…
Source : EXPRESS