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The government has suffered a massive defeat on its United Kingdom Internal Market (UKIM) bill, with 395 peers voting against the gov't in adding an amendment to the bill that states how the Lords "regrets that Part 5 of the bill contains provisions which, if enacted, would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom."

  • Only 169 members of the Lords voted with the gov't in opposing the amendment. Parliamentary historians believe the margin of 226 is the largest since reform to the Lords that removed most hereditary peers in 1999. The previous largest margin of defeat was in 2008, when the Lords opposed then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government's Counter-Terrorism Bill.
  • The defeat of the gov't on the UKIM bill in the Lords does not mean the bill cannot pass, but that it will go back to the Commons with the Lords' amendments, beginning a sometimes lengthy parliamentary process known as 'ping pong', where the bill goes back and forth between the two houses of Parliament.
  • The UKIM bill has become extremely controversial, given the gov't admitted that its passing onto the statute book would see the UK gov't be able to break international law in 'limited and very specific ways'. The bill's publication and debate saw huge opposition from the EU and anti-Brexiteers, and a number of Conservative MPs abstained or did not vote on the bill in a display of their opposition.
  • All in all, 39 Conservative Peers voted against the gov't, including former Conservative Party leader Lord (Michael) Howard of Lympne, and former chancellors Lord (Kenneth) Clarke of Nottingham and Lord (Norman) Lamont of Lerwick.
Chart 1. House of Lords vote on Amendment to UKIM Bill, 20 Oct

Source: UK Parliament

Note: XB means 'crossbench' peers, those without a political party.