Peers tend to be reasonable people and Lords committees are politically balanced – which makes the absolute rollocking given to the Government over their Brexit bill today even more noteworthy.
The Lords Constitution committee has accused ministers of using the bill to make a “breath-taking” power grab from Parliament and of having “misquoted”.
In the explanatory notes of the Brexit bill, the Government claimed the Committee supported its plan to give itself Henry VIII powers over Brexit – allowing ministers to change the law without a vote or debate in Parliament.
The Lords Committee has hit back, saying they were “selectively quoted” and their warnings of an “unprecedented” transfer of powers have been “ignored.”
Committee chair Baroness Bolton fumed:
“The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill represents an extraordinary transfer of legal powers from Parliament to the Government, with no additional oversight; we believe this is unacceptable.
“We acknowledge that the Government needs significant powers in order to deliver legal certainty after Brexit.
“However, we warned the Government that such powers must come with tougher parliamentary scrutiny mechanisms and we are disappointed that we have not only been misquoted by the government, but that our key recommendations have been ignored.”
As the bill stands, everything from workers’ rights to environmental rules could be changed at the whim of Theresa May.
So much for taking back control…