No Brexit debate in parliament is creating sideshows, warns House of Lords

Hayley Kirton
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Parliament and government should have been able to sort out the Article 50 process between them, the peers said (Source: Getty)

A lack of healthy debate about Brexit in parliament risks creating more noise, such as the recent Article 50 case, elsewhere, the House of Lords has cautioned today.

In a debate to discuss what degree parliament should be consulted on Brexit, the peers called on government to involve both houses more on its thinking on what the EU exit negotiations would look like.

Lord Hunt of Wirral, although slamming the "unfair and personally unkind" commentary aimed at the judiciary following the High Court judgment in the Article 50 case, claimed the lawsuit was an "unnecessary sideshow" as "the government and parliament were more than capable of working this out for themselves".

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard added that the case had become a "bit of a distraction".

Read more: EU Brexit negotiator: talks must close by mid-2019

Their words echo earlier comments made by MPs to City A.M.

As the case was making its way through the High Court in October, Tory MP and Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Bernard Jenkin called it "a diversionary tactic", while Kwasi Kwarteng, Conservative MP and Brexit supporter, added the discussions surrounding Brexit had moved on since the legal action was first started.

In today's debate, Lord Boswell of Aynho sympathised with government's desire not to show its negotiating cards to the other EU member states before talks began, but added: "It's not always wise to clutch all you cards close to your chest. Occasionally you need to play one."

Boswell chairs the House of Lord's EU Select Committee, which recently published a report on parliament's involvement in the Brexit debates and the invoking of Article 50.

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