Britain’s House of Lords has agreed to pass a deal preventing a no-deal Brexit, in yet another defeat for beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
MPs in Britain’s upper house passed the proposed legislation early on Thursday morning after a marathon 10-hour sitting.
There were fears pro-Brexit peers could deliberately hold up a vote on the bill so it could not get royal assent before Parliament is suspended next Monday.
Tory peers had tabled 100 amendments to try to prevent the legislation getting onto the statute book in time.
Peers had reportedly arrived for Wednesday’s sitting in the Lords with toothbrushes and sleeping bags, expecting to have to sit all through the night. The breakthrough decision came after a record 17 filibuster votes – the most in 800 years.
At 1.30am on Thursday (British time), the Conservative chief whip, Lord Ashton of Hyde, announced that a deal had been reached after talks with Labour.
Labour peer Andrew Adonis tweeted his relief at the news, saying: “We have stopped no deal – & we can now go home.”
Government chief whip announces government cave-in at 1.20 am – they are lifting the filibuster after 10 hours, with a commitment that the EU Bill will pass by 5pm Friday. We have stopped no deal – & we can now go home 🆒😊😍🇪🇺
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) September 5, 2019
Lord Ashton said all stages of the bill would have passed the House of Lords by 5pm (British time) on Friday.
The legislation will then return to the House of Commons on Monday for it to consider any Lords amendments. Lord Ashton said the government intended the “bill will be ready to be present for Royal Assent”.
The Lords’ move came after Mr Johnson earlier lost control of the Commons.
First, he lost the vote on the no-deal Brexit bill, then 21 Conservative MPs sided with the opposition to deny the Prime Minister’s motion to call a snap election.
Mr Johnson insists Britain must leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal. On Wednesday, he accused the opposition of trying to “overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history” – referring to the Brexit referendum.
Once it becomes law, the legislation will effectively force Mr Johnson into further Brexit negotiations with Brussels.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he will support a bill for an early election – but only if the idea of a no-deal Brexit is off the table.
The Lords’ move means that appears more likely to become reality.