Anti-Brexit Jewish peers will ‘play their part’ to block no deal

Anti-Brexit Jewish peers will ‘play their part’ to block no deal

Lib Dems' Lord Palmer will 'do all I can' to block Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans, amid threats by peers to filibuster Bill which would delay Brexit further

The House of Lords
The House of Lords

Jewish peers have said they intend to “play their part” in historic House of Lords debates in the coming days, amid threats to filibuster any Bill passed by MPs to require a Brexit extension.

Their potentially starring role follows momentous parliamentary events on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which MPs defeated the Government to take control of the House of Commons order papers, to force through a law mandating Boris Johnson to ask Brussels if the UK could delay leaving the EU.

If such a Bill passes through the House of Commons, as seems likely, it will progress to the Lords, where peers could stymie it by debating dozens of hastily-levied amendments over endless hours until time runs out and the Bill fails to pass.

If, by Sunday evening, the Bill still has not passed through the upper chamber, it will have run out of time before Parliament is prorogued – or suspended – on Monday, by which time Jewish peers could have played their part in British history.

A spokesman for Lord Jonathan Sacks said the former Chief Rabbi was “not planning to participate” but Conservative Jewish peer Lord Howard Leigh, a senior partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance, said: “I will be playing my part. We’ll see how the day goes.”

Lord Monroe Palmer

Jewish Liberal Democrat peer Lord Monroe Palmer likewise said he would “be taking part at this hectic time at Parliament,” adding: “I expect to be here all night Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, there are even rumours of sitting on the weekend.”

He added: “My resolve is to do all I can to stop UK crashing out of EU with no deal. I go beyond that in that my aim is to keep the UK in the EU. This may require a Peoples Vote.”

Meanwhile Jewish peer and leading barrister Lord David Pannick QC said his “focus” was on preparing to represent businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller in the Divisional Court, arguing before the Lord Chief Justice on Thursday that the prime minister’s unprecedented five-week prorogation of Parliament last week was unlawful.

Conservative peer Baroness Ros Altmann said peers “may even be sitting through the night,” after hosting a Jewish Leadership Council tea to celebrate Rosh Hashana on Wednesday, “despite being in the middle of the most momentous debate”.

Cautioning against the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn taking the keys to 10 Downing Street, she said: “I am desperately concerned that if we do head to a no-deal Brexit, the chaos it would cause would increase the risk of an antisemitic prime minister. I feel we must prevent no-deal, for which there is no democratic mandate.”

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