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House of Lords could derail or delay Brexit Article 50, Tory peer says

Published 01/08/2016

Baroness Wheatcroft said the delay could prompt a second EU referendum
Baroness Wheatcroft said the delay could prompt a second EU referendum

The House of Lords could derail or delay the process of leaving the European Union, a Conservative peer has said.

Baroness Wheatcroft said she hoped that a pause in introducing Article 50 could lead to a second EU referendum and potentially the public changing its mind.

“If it comes to a Bill, I think the Lords might actually delay things. I think there's a majority in the Lords for remaining,” she told The Times newspaper.

The courts are set to decide in the autumn whether the Government can trigger Article 50 without the consent of Parliament.

The baroness said she would support the Lords delaying the move if Parliament were indeed given a say.

 “I would hope, while we delayed things, that there would be sufficient movement in the EU to justify putting it to the electorate, either through a general election or a second referendum,” she said.

The peer, who was appointed under David Cameron, previously edited the Sunday Telegraph newspaper before joining the House of Lords.

It is still unclear when exactly the process of Britain leaving the European Union will begin.

A number of other peers are understood to be minded to derail Article 50.

Conservative party chairman Patrick McLoughlin has said Article 50 will be invoked before 2020, when the next general election is scheduled.

Theresa May has however indicated that the process will not start before the end of the year, and also said that the position of the constituent UK countries in negotiations must be made clear in advance.

Once Article 50 is invoked the process of leaving is in theory irreversible; the process itself has been estimated to take anything between two years and a decade.

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