Downing Street is attempting to play down a warning that the House of Lords could be abolished if peers try to block the Brexit bill.
The bill, which gives the government the authority to activate Article 50, starting the formal process of leaving the EU, was approved by 494 votes to 122 in the Commons, keeping the government’s March timetable to trigger Brexit talks on track.
On Thursday, a Number 10 source distanced the government from that view, saying peers had an important duty in scrutinizing and debating the bill “and we welcome them exercising this role.”
Following Wednesday night’s vote, Brexit secretary David Davis called on peers to do their “patriotic duty.” He told unelected peers not to try and change the simple two-clause bill as it was passed by MPs unamended and “reflected the will of the people.”
Davis says the government had seen a series of attempts to alter the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill before MPs overwhelmingly voted in favor of passing it unchanged.