Bill to trigger December 12 General Election clears the House of Lords and will go to the Queen to receive Royal Ascent
- Bill, which has already passed Commons, received unopposed second reading
- Should soon head to the statute book and so enable Parliament to be dissolved
- Lords leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park said election ‘could solve impasse’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves for the final Prime Minister´s Questions before the general election
Legislation to trigger a pre-Christmas general election has cleared its first hurdle in the House of Lords.
The one-page Bill, which has already been passed by the Commons, received an unopposed second reading by peers.
The draft legislation looks set to complete its remaining stages this evening before heading for the statute book and so enable Parliament to be dissolved on November 6, paving the way for an election on December 12.
The Early Parliamentary General Election Bill Bill sets aside the provisions of the Fixed-Term Parliament’s Act, meaning the Government did not require a two-thirds ‘super majority’ to get it through.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson watched on, Lords leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, opening the debate, said and election ‘presents a chance to resolve the impasse this country has endured for too long’.
She added: ‘Having an election will allow us to all put our cases to the public, gives them the opportunity to decide how they want to move forward, and to ensure the new government has time to act before January 31 2020.’
The one-page Bill, which has already been passed by the Commons, received an unopposed second reading by peers and will now go to the Queen for her assent. Her Majesty is seen at the State Opening of Parliament on October 14
Labour leader in the Lords Baroness Smith of Basildon said: ‘The bungling of Brexit has fractured our nation, it’s divided friends, families and our politics.
‘If MPs were unable to reach a conclusion on the slightly revamped but inferior deal, I conceded that the way forward would have to be to ask the public to consider the issue.’
She added: ‘It’s (a general election) about the vision for the direction of this country, and the Conservative Party will have to stand on its record.’
Liberal Democrat leader Lord Newby said it became clear to his party at the weekend that there was not a majority for a second referendum in the Commons ‘and it was time to face that reality’.
Independent crossbencher and former lord chief justice Lord Judge argued the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was to blame for the stalemate in the Commons.
He said there should have been a general election after former prime minister Theresa May had her Brexit deal rejected.
He added: ‘That is how our constitution is supposed to work. Instead of which we have been sitting, we sitting, they sitting, in paralysed impotence doing nothing except arguing whether we should argue again.’
The draft legislation looks set to complete its remaining stages this evening before heading for the statute book and so enable Parliament to be dissolved on November 6, paving the way for an election on December 12
Conservative peer and former chief whip Lord Taylor of Holbeach backed the Bill as ‘a way of breaking the logjam’.
He said: ‘If we do not have an election, this Parliament will continue to delay.’
Tory peer Lord Framlingham, the former deputy Commons speaker Michael Lord said: ‘We must have a new House of Commons.
‘The nation is weary of it and it’s become deeply damaging in so many ways we simply must start again.’
The former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt said: ‘Like many members of this House and the British public at large, I have been utterly depressed by the inability of members of the Commons to provide the leadership, clarity of thought and good governance required to guide this country of ours through the turbulent times created by the outcome of the referendum in 2016.’