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Boris Johnson is coming under increasing pressure to reform or even abolish the Lords, with several furious critics labelling it “unfit for purpose”. Hundreds of peers could potentially blow a huge hole in the Prime Minister’s negotiation plan with the EU over a Free Trade Agreement as they carefully scrutinise the Government’s Internal Market Bill – proposed legislation that has been heavily criticised by Brussels. The Bill risks overriding key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement signed with Brussels last year – namely focusing on elements of trade with Northern Ireland – and would subsequently break international law.
The EU has been left furious by the proposed legislation, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announcing Brussels would begin legal proceedings to prevent London from trying to initiate the domestic legislation.
Despite these threats, the Prime Minister is refusing to stand down on the Internal Market Bill, and is set for a furious showdown with the Lords on November 9, with peers planning to make the unusual move of voting on amendments to the Bill during the committee stage.
There are several proposals to rip out clauses that seek to break international law, and the expectation is the Government will be easily defeated on this in the upper chamber.
The votes were set to take place at the end of November, by which time the UK had hoped a trade deal with the EU would have been sealed, but bringing them forward piles even more pressure onto Mr Johnson – as crunch talks between the UK and the bloc remain ongoing.
Patrick Sullivan, chief executive of the Westminster-based think tank Parliament Street, lashed out at the “unelected” Lords, and just like the European Commission, claimed the upper chamber has “no direct accountability to the electorate”.
In a further brutal swipe, he compared the Lords and Commission to “two peas in an unelected pod”, suggesting that several peers actually wish they had a job in Brussels.
Mr Sullivan told Express.co.uk: “Unelected with no direct accountability to the electorate, our House of Lords has much in common with the European Commission.
“The House of Lords and the European Commission are like two peas in an unelected pod.
“Perhaps some of our Peers wish they had a job working for the European Commission.”
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, also highlighted the close links some peers have to the EU.
He raged they are “dangerously out of touch with the electorate and democracy”, as well as “enemies of democracy and therefore the public”.
The Bow Group chairman said: “It’s no surprise that a body made of the last 20 years of the British establishment offers another example of establishment opposition to Brexit.
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“The vast majority of the Lords are pro-EU, many are financial beneficiaries of EU membership, such as Lord Heseltine, who has openly suggested ignoring the referendum result entirely.
“These people are dangerously out of touch with the electorate and democracy.
“They are enemies of democracy and therefore the public, and the best adverts for their own abolition.”
The latest attack on the Lords echoes comments made by Robert Oulds, director of the pro-Brexit Bruges Group, who warned it was no surprise the unelected chamber is “siding with the undemocratic EU” in trying to pick apart the Government’s Internal Market Bill.
He said previously: “The House of Lords is sailing close to the wind if they amend the Internal Market Bill.
“It is no surprise that the unelected House is siding with the undemocratic EU.
“The Lords are putting the sovereignty and integrity of the UK at risk.”
Earlier this month, Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash lashed out at the “unelected” European Commission over their threat of legal action against the UK Government over the Bill.
The European Scrutiny Committee Chairman said after the legislation passed through the House of Commons: “The Internal Market Bill carries forward powers expressed and unambiguously and has now passed through the House of Commons, an elected body, by a great majority.
“As I have indicated in previous occasions it is in line with precedence and law on the international plane.
“This Bill has been passed notwithstanding the constitutionally offensive and intrusive threats against the UK made by the unelected European Commission.”
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