Farage’s Fury as He Calls Anti-Brexit House of Lords ‘Traitors in Ermine’
AP Photo / Frank AugsteinEurope13:38 11.05.2018(updated 13:44 11.05.2018) Get short URL
“We should abolish it, we should get rid of it.” Former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has unleashed criticism against the House of Lords for defeating the UK government on EU Withdrawal Bill 14 times.
Brexit champion and a staunch supporter of Britain cutting every tie with the European Union, Mr. Farage said during his radio show that the upper chamber of the parliament is not good enough to their intended job.
“The House of Lords now represents, in many ways, the metropolitan political class and I thought way before these defeats to the EU Withdrawal Bill, I thought way before that, this is no longer fit for purpose.”
Mr. Farage also called the peers “traitors in ermine,” which he admitted was strong wording but “they are breaking every normal historical convention,” he concluded.
The House of Lords voted on May 8 against an amendment to allow British membership of a variety of EU agencies, including the European Economic Area, after Brexit.
READ MORE: UK Government Once Again Defeated in House of Lords on EU Bill
The Lords have also voted to remove the exact date of Brexit — 29 March 2019 — from the wording of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which means Britain could continue to be part of EU agencies after Brexit. In turn, the government is expected to seek to reverse a number of the Lords amendments when the bill is discussed in the House of Commons.
Calls for the reform of the House of Lords have been long made by different parties within the UK political system. In 1999 the Labour government led by Prime Minister Tony Blair has passed the House of Lords Act 1999, which removed the hereditary right of hundreds of peers, with only 92 retaining the right and on an interim basis. Another ten peers were grated life peership.
In the course of the 2010 election campaigning UK’s main political parties promised to act on reforming the House of Lords. Member of the ruling coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the then Deputy PM Nick Clegg introduced the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012, which however saw opposition from the Tories and their leader David Cameron and has been consequently abandoned.
RIA Novosti . Vladimir Fedorenko/Ilya PitalevFormer UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron
Mr. Farage accused former prime ministers Blair and Cameron of leaving the House of Lords seats warm for their “mates.”
“Folks, I’m not calling for reform. We had reform. Tony Blair brought in reform. He told us the House of Lords would be fit for purpose in a modern 21st century Britain. What he and Cameron did was stuff it with 600 of their mates. You know, former MPs, party apparatchiks, people whose names you have never heard of, whose contribution to public life frankly has been very limited. Oh, and I nearly forget, party donors too.”
Hitting back at criticism a member of the upper chamber for the parliament, Lord Bilimoria defended the role of the House of Lords during a televized debate:
“Do you realize the role of the House of Lords? If we lost the House of Lords in the form that it is and if you have an elected House of Lords the whole dynamic will change. At the moment the Commons has the final say, and we know that. Our job is to revise, review, scrutinize legislation and make the Commons think again.”
Prime Minister Theresa May was disappointed by the House of Lords defeats in the House of Lords, according to her spokesman.
“We will not accept attempts to use this legislation to stop us taking back control of our money, our laws and our borders,” the spokesperson said.