Parliament debate Article 50 bill and Trump plus more UKIP woes
Whilst peers in the House of Lords have their say on the Article 50 bill, MPs talk Trump. And there’s more problems for UKIP leader Paul Nuttall.
Today is going to be a long day in Parliament. Whilst debate on the Article 50 bill begins in the House of Lords, the House of Commons will see a debate on Donald Trump’s state visit.
Article 50 bill
After the House of Commons passed the bill unamended, the Article 50 bill goes to the House of Lords where it will be debated for the first time. According the Guardian’s politics live blog, the debate is due to start at around 3.30pm. 190 peers are lined up to speak today and tomorrow.
Amendments on the bill won’t be debated until next Monday and Tuesday. You can find more info and key dates for the process of the bill in the House of Lords at parliament.uk. Really, if the government want to stick to the first principle in their Brexit white paper to “provide certainty and clarity”, they shouldn’t be afraid of these amendments. The bill, as it stands, doesn’t offer either.
As well as being briefed on the debate by MPs, peers were also sent a copy of legal opinion commissioned by the People’s Challenge. The opinion argues that constitutionally, another Act of Parliament is required once the terms of Brexit are known. This is more contentious than it seems… Whilst the government confirmed that Parliament would get a vote on any deal, it clarified that a vote against a deal would mean Britain withdrawing with “no deal”. The opinion is important because it makes the case that Parliament can vote against withdrawal if they do not agree with the terms. And that Article 50 is revocable.
You can read more about the opinion in our previous post…
You can follow the debate later at parliamentlive.tv.
Meanwhile, in the other House, President Trump’s proposed state visit will be debated by MPs. As the BBC reports, the debate will cover two petitions: one signed by 1.85m against a state visit and another petition signed by 311,000 in support of a state visit.
The government has already confirmed the visit will go ahead. And that President Trump’s schedule will not include an address to parliament. But as we noted in another post, we’re betting that the government wished it had never issued the invite in the first place. The government’s main focus for the visit will be to make it the least embarrassing to it and to Trump, which so far means hoping it’ll pass as quietly as possible. The Guardian reports that anti-Trump supporters are already making plans for some of the biggest demonstrations in UK history when his visit happens. And a rally is due today in London to coincide with the Commons debate.
However, there may be very little the government can do in terms of damage limitation over the visit. That is unless they can manage to convince the donald to do the least amount of talking as possible.
Donald Trump explaining to the American people what Uranium is shows the stupidity of our leader. pic.twitter.com/PhkMFQSdja
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) 16 February 2017
Of course, we have plenty of our own politicians who aren’t particularly good at telling the truth. One of them is UKIP’s candidate for the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election this Thursday….
An even longer day for Paul Nuttall
It’s going to be an especially long day for UKIP leader Paul Nuttall. This morning, the chairs of UKIP’s Liverpool and Merseyside branches resigned over the “false claims” and “crass insensitivity” over Hillsborough by Paul Nuttall and prominent Brexiteer Aaron Banks. Those are the words used by the two outgoing chairs’ own press statement as published in full in the Guardian’s politics live blog.
This was just another of Nuttall’s lies, which he has been caught out by. Perhaps he’s worried about what else people might find on his website because as of this morning, it’s still down for “maintenance”. Once it’s back on, I wonder if there will be anything on it…
Hopefully not this picture tweeted by UKIP of supporters supposedly in Stoke but actually in Bolton.
— UKIP (@UKIP) 18 February 2017