Lord Lisvane: House of Lords should not delay Brexit Bill

Sir Robert Rogers being sworn in as Lord Lisvane
Image caption The former Commons clerk has adopted the title of Lord Lisvane

The House of Lords should not delay or alter the Brexit Bill, a former senior parliamentary official has said.

Last week MPs voted by a majority of four to one, and without amendment, to give the prime minister the power to invoke Article 50 and begin the process of Britain leaving the EU.

Peers are due to discuss the bill on Monday.

Lord Lisvane told the Sunday Supplement programme they would be "extremely ill advised" to go against the will of MPs.

He said: "If the elected house has decided not to do so [amend the bill]. Then the unelected house, would not, should not and could not do so."

Lord Lisvane, who is from Cardiff, said the Brexit Bill debate in the commons had achieved what it should do by an exposure of the issues with ministers having to defend their position.


However, Lord Lisvane - who as Sir Robert Rogers served as clerk to the House of Commons from 2011-2014 - said peers might take the opportunity to ask MPs to "think again" on the position of EU nationals resident in the UK.

Former Welsh and Northern Ireland Secretary Lord Murphy of Torfaen agreed it was not the role of the House of Lords to block or thwart Brexit.

But Paul Murphy, a former MP for Torfaen, said it was right that peers look at the detail of the bill.

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Media captionLord Murphy of Torfaen says it is not the role of the House of Lords to "block or thwart Brexit"

"Parliament does have a very important role in scrutinising the terms of our exit and in our case making sure we get the best possible deal for the Welsh people because we rely so heavily on our exports to Europe, we rely heavily on European money for agriculture and all sorts of schemes up and down Wales," he said.

Dozens of peers are expected to speak for and against the UK government's plans in the two-day debate.

Theresa May wants to trigger the formal Brexit talks with the EU by the end of March.

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