Peers warned against 'thwarting' will of the people after Brexit defeats

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Nineteen Conservatives rebelled as the House of Lords voted by 335 to 244 votes - a majority of 91 - for MPs and peers to be automatically consulted if a deal with Brussels is rejected by Parliament or Mrs May fails to negotiate any agreement.

Peers have tabled a slew of wrecking amendments to the crucial EU Withdrawal Bill created to force her hand in negotiations.

In an interview with The House magazine, Brexit minister Lord Callanan said his fellow peers were guilty of "a fairly transparent attempt to reverse the result of the Brexit vote".

"What this amendment would do is weaken the UK's hand in our negotiations with the European Union by giving Parliament unprecedented powers to instruct the government to do anything with regard to the negotiations including trying to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union indefinitely", he said, adding that the government will now consider the implications of the House of Lords' decision.

Asked what the alternative to a second referendum would be if Parliament voted against the deal reached with Brussels at the end of the negotiations, he replied: "If in the end we have an agreement that the Government wants but Parliament won't agree to, we have the possibility of leaving the European Union without an agreement".

Dr Fox denied that a string of parliamentary defeats being inflicted on the Government would eventually force it into accepting that the United Kingdom would have to be part of some form of customs union with the EU.

"This is a hugely significant moment in the fight to ensure Parliament has a proper role in the Brexit negotiations and that we avoid a no deal situation".

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SNP MP Stephen Gethins MP said the defeat was the "most damaging" the government had suffered.

The decision would need to be ratified by the House of Commons before it becomes law.

Supporters of the move argue that MPs should have the power to send Mrs May back to the negotiating table if they disapprove of her deal - or if she can not reach one.

Rees-Mogg added: "Very few people have that much respect for the House of Lords".

The former Tory minister Viscount Hailsham said: "In democracies both Parliament and the electorate have the right to change their minds".

"This amendment, which has cross-party support, would provide a safety net in the Brexit process".

- Was it the only defeat peers inflicted on the Government?

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