Lords inflict defeat on Boris’ Brexit plans as plot to ditch EU state aid rules HALTED

December 2, 2020
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house of lords

The House of Lords has inflicted a blow to Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan (Image: GETTY)

Peers backed the regret motion by 278 votes to 258 in a ballot in the upper chamber on Wednesday evening. The vote marks an embarrassing defeat for the Government over a move to ditch EU state aid rules in the absence of an agreed new post-Brexit subsidy regime for the UK.

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The vote comes just four weeks from the end of the Brexit transition period.

Ministers had argued with the ending of the period, Brussels would no longer have any jurisdiction in the UK and so “makes no sense to leave these rules on our statute book”.

Fierce criticism in the Lords came about in response to a Government regulation, which would see the UK from January 1 follow World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on subsidies and other international commitments agreed in free trade agreements, with the option to legislate for a home-grown system.

The rumblings came after a Lords watchdog raised concerns over the plan to revoke the EU’s rules on state aid.

The group said the planned move appeared to be a shift from the previous Government’s position which had sought continuity.

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee also questioned the use of a ministerial order, known as a statutory instrument, to introduce the changes in policy on such important issues rather than primary legislation.

david frost

The vote in the Lords comes as Lord Frost holds talks with Michel Barnier (Image: GETTY)

In a statement the Lords select committee said: “We take the view that this is neither a welcome nor acceptable use of secondary legislation.”

The vote comes amid intense post-Brexit trade talks between Michel Barnier and Lord Frost in London. 

With just weeks to go until the Brexit transition period deadline, both sides are battling it out to secure a free trade deal. 

More to follow….

BARNIER

Michel Barnier pictured heading to Brexit trade talks in London (Image: GETTY)



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