Theresa May warns peers against encouraging a bad Brexit deal with amendments to the Article 50 Bill

Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Prime Minister Theresa May has issued peers with a fresh warning against a Brexit rebellion, with officials today claiming the House of Lords could encourage Brussels to offer a bad deal on Brexit.

Peers return tomorrow to debates on the Article 50 Bill, with speculation rife that they will impose a second amendment to the legislation, this time inserting a requirement for May to hold a "meaningful" vote in Parliament.

May has already offered a "take it or leave it" ballot, but the reforms could allow Parliament to force the government back to negotiations with the EU. Today a spokesman for May warned against supporting the cause.

Read more: Government defeats plan to boost a "take it or leave it" Brexit vote

"We have been clear on a number of occasions that the PM wants to see this bill passed unamended," a spokesman said.

"On the issue of a meaningful vote, the PM believes we shouldn't commit to any process that will incentivise the EU to offer us a bad deal."

Peers have already amended the Bill to include a unilateral offer of protection of the rights of EU nationals in the UK.

Read More: These leading Brexiteers have joined calls to protect EU nationals' rights

Downing Street's warning comes after the Tory leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans, warned that peers must be prepared to back down over Brexit.

MPs will be able to reject any changes to the Bill when it returns to the House of Commons before being granted Royal Assent.

And writing on the Times' website today, Evans said: "If the elected house once again sends us a clean bill, it will be for us to accept that without delay."

The government is planning to trigger Brexit talks by the end of this month.

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