A PRO-BREXIT economist has warned Theresa May’s weakened Government could now play into the hands of meddling members of the House of Lords seeking to derail the divorce.
Liam Halligan said the Salisbury Convention, which prevents the House of Lords opposing measures promised in a governing party’s manifesto, could be thrown out the window because of the Prime Minister’s minority in the Commons.
The convention supposes that the governing party has won a majority based on its manifesto, which the expert indicated could lead to Lords “unpicking” Brexit.
Speaking on a panel in BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?, he admitted the process was now “a lot more difficult”.
Halligan said: “The EU27 and the Commission and so on can see that whereas in a previous Parliament, where Mrs May had a majority, it would have been a lot easier to get Brexit-related legislation through.
“Now it’s gong to be a lot more difficult… also given that she didn’t get a majority at the election on a manifesto of being outside the single market and outside the customs union – that’s very explicit in her manifesto.
“And she can only get a majority if she relies on another party. It may be that the so-called Salisbury-Addison Convention doesn’t apply, so it may be that the Lords feel they can now try to start to, not just delay Brexit, but actually to unpick it.”
However, he remained hopeful with both the Tories and the Labour party pushing manifestos which involved the UK being outside the single market.
He said: “It’s clearly as much a weaker position for her but I’d say this – I did vote for Brexit, I think we should be outside the single market, not a member of the single market and I don’t think we should be a member of the customs union either.
“That’s what the Prime Minister laid out at her Lancaster House speech. Labour also said that they should be outside the single market and Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed since the election that he wants to be outside the single market, even though some of his party doesn’t agree with him.
“So Labour and the Tories, between them ladies and gentlemen, got over four-fifths of the votes on a platform of not being a member of the single market and that’s on top of the referendum we had in June 2016.”