Ian Collins is Leading Britain's Conversation.
8 March 2017, 10:41
Another heavy Lords defeat last night seeks to put unelected Peers in charge of the Brexit outcome. They, rather than the government, will determine the final terms, says David Mellor.
The curse of Cameron in all its awfulness has struck Theresa May amidships. He it was who created 260 new Peers, most of them of negligible political weight.
He it was, in particular, who bigged up the Lib-Dems, so, whereas the electorate gave them less than a handful of MPs, Dave increased them to 102 Peers, who are now wreaking havoc with Theresa May’s plans.
Last week, the Lords demanded a unilateral agreement that any EU citizen in the UK should be allowed to stay, regardless of what happens to British citizens overseas. What’s the sense of that? It should be reciprocal.
And, given public concern over immigration, are we really saying that every EU citizen in this country is someone we would want long term. A lot of them are, of course, doing useful jobs, and boosting the British economy. But there are plenty of others, especially from Eastern Europe, who are only here for a free lunch.
The only people who will be pleased with last week’s vote, and last night’s further government defeat, are the EU’s negotiators. The Lords seem quite happy to cut off our negotiators at the knees, making clear to the other side our people don’t have full authority to negotiate a deal that would stick.
William Hague has now called for a general election to renew Mrs May authority.
However, Dave Cameron stands in the way of that one as well, with his legislation, which, by the way, Hague helped through, that prevents a Prime Minister calling an election before the end of 5 years.
Hague now wants that swept away, but it’s easier said than done.
The reality is May would easily win a general election held in the next few months. Damn Dave for frustrating a Prime Minister’s legitimate right to go to the country when he/she chooses.
Mrs May needs a fresh mandate to facedown the Lords. Otherwise a bunch of Lib-Dem nonentities, who aren’t even household names in their own kitchens, will continue to hold her – and, of course, the rest of us - to ransom.