Lording It Over Democracy

It would be silly rely on the House of Lords to defend the will of the people

Having voted to Remain in the EU referendum last year, I now have mixed opinions. Although I am not keen on leaving the EU, I want to let democracy have its way. Even if there was only three per cent in it, nonetheless my side lost. On balance, therefore, the best thing is to trigger Article 50 at the end of March, and get on with it.

Enter the House of Lords. No, I don’t mean I have been ennobled. I am referring to the vote on Wednesday night when peers voted 358 to 256 in favour of amending the Brexit Bill and effectively postponing Brexit. At issue were the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK.

The House of Lords voted for these rights to be guaranteed with a delay on triggering Article 50 until they are. Again, I am in favour of such guarantees, but I think it’s a bit rich for a bunch of unelected peers to set themselves up as a corrective to the will of 15 million people as expressed in the vote to Leave.

The latest Brexit setback will do little to alleviate the frustration of these voters, who have already waited nine months since the June referendum, and can now expect a few more weeks of parliamentary ping pong in order for peers to approve the Bill. No wonder the Daily Mail described the Lords’ vote as a “a naked bid to sabotage Brexit by creating difficulties for Mrs May in triggering formal negotiations.”

Normally I read the Mail only in order to know my enemy. But on this occasion, I have to agree – even if to say so goes against my personal inclination to Remain.