Lib Dem Lords vs Brexit: Middle of night special

It’s 12:55 am and the House of Lords just got to the amendments on the first paragraph of the timetable motion for the avoiding no deal  bill. They have been going for the better part of 11 hours now and the vote they are on now is, I think, the 16th. According to Lib Dem Peer Paul Strasburger, this is the most votes ever in a single session.

This is part of the Government’s attempts to filibuster out the Bill to stop a no deal Brexit in its tracks which was passed by the Commons earlier.

There were rumours on Newsnight that Jeremy Corbyn had done a deal with the Government to allow an election in mid October in exchange for the filibustering to stop, but this appears to have been averted after MPs of all parties prevailed on Corbyn to not trust a word that comes from the Government.

So, No 10, I understand, has told the Lords to keep filibustering.

The Lords chamber is still pretty full. Every single vote has been won by the Rebel Alliance. And by some margin. It is the most colossal waste of time ever.

Some of our Lib Dem Lords may be in their element. It does rather read like a Lib Dem constitutional review, but even after an hour of watching, I am ready to throw things at the telly.

If you are trying to frustrate business with hundreds of frivolous amendments, you might at least make them interesting. I mean, why not include proposals for unlimited marshmallows to be provided, or to play beer pong at the bar of he House?

The whole point of the business motion is to amend standing orders to allow more than one stage of any Brexit Bill to be taken on one day.

Oh, we have news.

There seems to have been a deal being done.

The substance is that the debate on this motion will end now, then a new business motion will take place in the morning to allow all the stages of the Bill to be completed by 5pm on Friday. If the Lords make any amendments, they will go back to the Commons on Monday.

And so, at 1:28 am, the House of Lords adjourns.

What a charade that was. And well done to all the opposition peers who so patiently dealt with so many bovinely scatological amendments. The will know that they were there at the front line of protecting the country from a catastrophic Brexit.

You would thin that in 2019, we would have a more efficient system of voting. Each amendment takes 15 minutes to vote on. Why can’t they just have Holyrood style buttons and instant results in one decision time on the day.

Given that our peers had been tweeting photos of themselves with pillows and duvets, I am slightly disappointed that there were no actual pillow fights, but at least our people can go and get some sleep.

Tomorrow they should vote at noon on the business motion and 7pm on the Bill. If everything goes to plan. Watch this space.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News.


  • kushal kumar 5th Sep '19 - 7:42am

    The political as also economic scenario in UK looks to be one of major worrisome concern. In the beginning of September , 2019 , British lawmakers in the House of Commons passed a bill aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit. They also rejected PM Johnson’s proposal to hold a snap election on 15 October. As regards Brexit with deal , the same has not yet taken final shape. In these circumstances , UK looks to be passing through a major worrisome concern time which was very well reflected in this Vedic astrology writer’s predictive alerts through article – “ World trends in April to August 2019” – brought to public domain widely in March and subsequently on 5 April 2019. The predictive alert had said that a period of four and a half months from mid- April to August in 2019 may call for more care and appropriate strategy in UK also in relation to one or more of the following :-

    1. “Economic and financial aspects may reflect major worrisome concerns;
    2. Decision-making capability may be either short of firmness or having potential to give rise to ambiguity ;
    3. Unions , federations , groups or association or parties , within a nation or among nations , may show signs of divergence in more than one sphere of life. In other words , the spirit of unity in them may be short of being ideal”.
    A review of the aforesaid trends around May in 2019 had suggested that these trends could reach out as far as mid-October , while the period from about 7 August to 9 October , 2019 look to be particular , calling for more care and appropriate strategy. And within that period , one from 25 September to 9 October in 2019 cannot be allowed to pass without due attention.

  • Is Johnson really going to capitulate, or has Cummings dreamt up a cunning plan? Bank Holiday on Monday? ‘Reichstag’ fire over the weekend? He is totally ruthless and doesn’t play by the rules.

  • Andrew McCaig 5th Sep '19 - 9:21am

    It looks like he has done a deal with Corbyn for a 15th Oct General Election.
    I don’t think it will be a very civilised campaign

  • Mark Seaman 5th Sep '19 - 9:26am

    Not so long ago LibDems were calling for major reformation of Parliament to make it a more female friendly environment, especially by stopping the ludicrous late hours that the House sometimes works to. That noble aim appears to have vanished in a puff of smoke, literally overnight.

  • Alex Macfie 5th Sep '19 - 9:41am

    Mark Seaman: sorry, but how is it the Lib Dems’ fault that the Lords is having to sit late nights on this occasion??!?!? It’s the government that is trying to ‘time out’ the Bill. The Lib Dem Peers are simply doing what they have to do to stop it. That is the way things are, and we have to work with the system as it is, not as we would like it to be. in the same way, the election that is very likely to occur next month will be run under FPTP, a system we are committed to abolishing. We are still going to stand candidates under the system, because that is the system. It doesn’t mean we support it.

  • John Marriott 5th Sep '19 - 9:50am

    It’s nice to see so many of their Lordships earning their crust for a change!

    What a momentous day it was – and largely thanks to the much maligned Fixed Term Parliament Act. Whether by intention or not, it has prevented Johnson screwing a General Election out of the situation. Without it, it’s quite possible that we would be clearing the decks, loading the cannon and sailing inexorably towards a Polling Day that would have effectively given the government cartel Blanche to get its ‘No Deal’ Brexit on 31 October.

    Let’s hear it for something that just might be saving our bacon!

  • Mark Seaman 5th Sep '19 - 9:51am

    ‘Paul Walter 5th Sep ’19 – 1:31am
    It was quite something to see the ceremonial mace being carried out at 1.30am. What an historic night!’ Yep that definitely sounds like someone not happy with the working hours, and not at all celebrating the event.

  • All this media and number 10 hype over an election is a diversion. Labour and the opposition parties will only have an election after 1st November, and then if it suits them. It avoids a referendum. Most likely outcome AT THE MOMENT is NO general election, but an alternative government and a probable referendum.. Reading between the lines Johnson is becoming desperate and could well be dumped by his own party on the 31st October.

  • Alex Macfie 5th Sep '19 - 10:28am

    Mark Seaman: It WAS a historic night. Celebrating it does not mean an endorsement of the system that led to it. It’s no different from celebrating a historic long election count in a FPTP contest where we have snatched victory by just 2 votes (think Winchester 1997). Whether you like the system (be that FPTP voting, or Parliamentary hours) is beside the point. It’s the system, and we have to work under it. And a win’s a win. Moreover, we have to show publicly that we are working to get the Bill through, and this means talking positively about the actions of our Peers in the face of the government.
    Mr Seaman, if you don’t like the Lib Dem Peers sitting the long hours required to get the anti-no-deal Bill passed, what do you propose they do instead? And please don’t say we should boycott it; that would be a pointless gesture that would just hand victory to the government.

  • Andrew McCaig 5th Sep ’19 – 9:21am….It looks like he has done a deal with Corbyn for a 15th Oct General Election. ………..

    That’s not what McDonnell or Corbyn have said; at least according to Laura Kuenssberg….She writes that Corbyn “would NOT allow Boris Johnson to have an election before 31st October”..Still, maybe you have better info?

  • *Why can’t they just have Holyrood style buttons and instant results in one decision time on the day

    Middlesex County Council – which was abolished 54 years ago – had it.

  • Lord Greaves 5th Sep '19 - 12:54pm

    Fantastic victory yesterday for the forces of reason and good order. (!) The driving force on Brexit in the Lords has for the past year and more been the Liberal Democrats led by Dick Newby and our chief Whip Ben Stoneham. Last night, after some three hours of negotiation after the Commons vote on a General Election, the Government and their friends who had been leading the filibuster capitulated. Surrender Bill? – just one amazing Surrender by the Government.

    Be proud of the Liberal peers who as usual had the highest turnout throughout. 80 for the first substantive vote and still 67 in the lobby at around 1pm for the final vote before the Conservative Capitulation. By then we were beating the other side on our own!

    The Second Reading is now taking place and will finish early in the evening. May be a vote at the end but probably not. The remaining stages will take place and go through tomorrow.

  • John Marriott 5th Sep '19 - 12:57pm

    @Tom Barney
    Did you ever see that picture of (I think) a Spanish deputy in the Cortes, who had seats both sides of him vacant, by using his hands and feet, managing to vote THREE TIMES?!

  • Ross McLean 5th Sep '19 - 1:24pm

    John Marriott – In Holyrood I believe an MSP needs to insert their unique voting card into the slot on their desk before they can press their YES or NO voting button. A little bit of sensible technology goes a long way.

  • John Marriott 5th Sep '19 - 3:51pm

    @Ross McLean
    Let me make it clear that I am not against electronic voting in parliament. Such voting in local or national elections is a different matter. That might be fatally open to abuse. The point I was making is that such a system has got to be, as far as possible, foolproof, especially at the level of legislation.

  • Richard Underhill 5th Sep '19 - 6:32pm

    MPs like to use votes as an opportunity to lobby ministers.
    Apparently the opposition in the Lords have agreed never to ever try to guillotine again!!
    Boris Johnson has given a speech in Yorkshire standing in front of a group of police cadets, one of whom got off camera (possibly fainted?).
    We are reminded of Blunkett’s dog who was sick in the Commons when a Tory was speaking (sorry, forgotten who).

  • David Evershed 6th Sep '19 - 12:05pm

    There must have been something offered in return for the Conservatives to stop the filibuster in the Lords.

    Will the Labour party stand by the arrangement?

  • @David Evershed There must have been something offered in return for the Conservatives to stop the filibuster in the Lords.
    Treat the Conservative members of the HoL as adults until the next time then act like children?

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced optimism Monday that a new Brexit deal can be reached so Britain leaves the European Union by Oct. 31.

    Speaking alongside Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Johnson said a deal on the Irish border question can be secured in time to enable a smooth British departure from the EU by the scheduled Brexit date.

    He said a “no-deal” departure from the European Union would represent a “failure of statecraft” and that all sides would bear a responsibility for that.

    Varadkar also said ahead of a meeting with Johnson that Britain has not produced any realistic alternatives to the controversial “backstop” agreement reached by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May.

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