This is a busy week in the Lords as we have the chance to defeat the government on some key amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which retain crucial environmental principles. I’m hoping for lots of votes. The Labour and Lib Dem whips mustn’t skip over anything crucial because they are worried about the Lords over stepping its role. If something is wrong with the legislation, then we need to say so.
The first big vote today was about whether to keep the charter of fundamental rights. Peers decided it was common sense to keep all the rights in one place (by 316 to 245) rather than having them scattered throughout UK law as the government suggests. Retaining the link between these rights makes the law simpler to understand and more powerful. Perhaps those are the reasons why the government doesn’t like the idea.
The second set of debates about protecting the environmental principles set out in EU directives will start today, but may not be voted upon until Wednesday. The government introduced the Withdrawal Bill by saying that it would transfer across all the EU rules into UK law. These amendments, supported by the environmental NGOs do just that. As with my own amendment on animal sentience, these are genuine attempts to take the government at its word and retain the vital protections that we already have.