Brexit is our future, the Lords is not

Lord Heseltine is the face of Britain's past. Brexit is the face of Britain's future. Has beens in a remote and unelected House of Lords must not be allowed to thwart the will of the British people

Lord Heseltine as the face of the past
Matthew Ellery
On 8 March 2017 08:27

The people you thought were gone from British politics are back. Mandelson, Hain, Kinnock, Patten and Heseltine -- these blasts from the past are now at the forefront of attempts to thwart the will of the people in the House of Lords.

Their views are stuck in the 1990s, when only a brave few dared question our EU membership and its grabbing of more and more powers.

The Great British Public have spoken – with more people voting for Brexit than have voted for any political party in any General Election. Brexit is the future of this country; the majority must not let these political has-beens stand in the way.

Yesterday, the House of Lords once again debated the Article 50 Bill – the law which will allow the Government to start the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. They passed an amendment by a majority of 98 requiring Parliament to be given a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final Brexit deal.

This is the second element of the House of Lords’ delaying tactics. But on a positive note, it resulted in the sacking of Lord Heseltine from his role as an adviser to the Government.

Last Wednesday, the Lords implemented their first delaying tactic. They did this by passing an amendment to give EU citizens the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit. There is nothing egregious in this amendment per se, but underneath the motivation is clear – to try and delay Brexit.

There has been no suggestion by the Government of EU citizens being kicked out of a post-Brexit Britain. Vote Leave was clear on this, Boris Johnson was clear on this and Prime Minister Theresa May continues to be clear on this. But Remoaners continue to pursue the issue.

What May would like to see is for the EU to guarantee UK expats a right to remain in their chosen European country too; something which the EU has consistently failed to do.

If you recall, Chancellor Angela Merkel was given the opportunity to guarantee a reciprocal arrangement early on, but she refused. She clearly wants to use our expat citizens as bargaining chips against us.

Many of these expats have lived abroad for years, but due to the Referendum’s rules they were not allowed a vote. For the EU to punish these British citizens would be morally repugnant, economically naive and politically disastrous.

It would be absurd for the UK to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK, without having a guarantee about UK citizens from the EU in return. The effect of this policy would be to allow the EU to demand something else in return for reassurances about UK expats.

The lack of concern for our expat British citizens by the liberal Left is revealing. They are crying foul over the rights of EU citizens in the UK, but deathly silent on expats abroad. They see this as simply a stick to beat the Government over the head with, rather than this issue carrying a sense of moral duty.

If people are looking for someone to blame about the uncertainty relating to EU citizens, they ought to look to Angela Merkel and to Brussels, not to Downing Street.

We are sure the Lords know this. These amendments are an excuse, nothing more, nothing less. They are trying to kick Article 50 further down the road by initiating parliamentary ping-pong -- the process where amendments are debated between the Commons and the Lords, giving Remain MPs, such as Anna Soubry, another opportunity to try and stifle the Bill in the Commons.

These are all delaying tactics, hoping the Great British Public will change their mind about Brexit, opening the door to a second referendum. The public knew what they were voting for on June 23rd and that’s what they will get. Referendum after referendum would do nothing other than further erode the public’s trust in politics and politicians.

Let’s not forget who makes up the 804 Lords. Many are politically-motivated appointees, some are hereditary peers able to sit as a consequence of birth, party donors and a huge number of Liberal Democrats, despite their decimation at the last General Election.

Many have tried to reform the Lords over the years, but far-reaching reform has not been forthcoming – so far. They continue to be unelected, totally unreflective of public opinion and of British society in general.

To make matters worse, some of these Lords -- such as Mandelson, Kinnock and Patten -- have enormous EU pensions. Voting to trigger Article 50 would jeopardise their luxurious retirements.

Why would they put their huge EU-pension pots at risk? As they say: ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’. Especially as their pensions have loyalty clauses to the EU inserted into them.

We at Get Britain Out are clear – Brexit delayed is Brexit denied. The unelected House of Lords must respect the will of the people and they must stop playing procedural games.

We just hope our MPs can see through their façade of concern, vote down their amendments and ensure Brexit is delivered as quickly as possible.

Matthew Ellery is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out

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