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Lords overstepped role in amendments to Brexit legislation, says May

File photo dated 21/02/18 of Prime Minister Theresa May, who facing the threat of a Commons rebellion on staying in the customs union after a marathon gathering of senior Cabinet members met to find a united front on EU withdrawal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday February 23, 2018. The eight-hour meeting of the Brexit "war cabinet" at Chequers was called to plot a way forward after Tory tensions went public, but the Prime Minister was threatened with a fresh challenge to her authority from pro-Europe Conservative backbenchers. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The House of Lords went "far beyond" what its role should be in rewriting crucial Brexit legislation, Theresa May has said.

The Prime Minister faces a series of crunch votes in the Commons as she attempts to overturn or water down the changes inserted by peers in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

In an effort to avert a damaging Commons revolt by pro-EU Tories, Mrs May stressed the importance of the legislation and criticised the actions of peers.

She said: "Let's remember what the Withdrawal Bill is for: it's about delivering a statute book that is ready for Brexit day.

"Of course, the Lords has a revising role to play - but some of the amendments that were passed and the comments that were made went far beyond that.

"You had peers talking about stopping Brexit or trying to tie the Government's hands in the negotiations.

"This Government is delivering on the decision made by the country in the referendum to leave the EU and we will not accept anything that prevents us from taking back control of our money, laws and borders."

Ministers have accepted just one of the 15 changes made to the planned legislation during its bruising passage through the House of Lords and appear to have softened their position on some others.

But demands for Parliament to be given a decisive say over what happens next if it rejects the Brexit deal have not been accepted.

Instead, the Government proposes that ministers should make a statement within 28 days setting out how to proceed.

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will go back before MPs on Tuesday.

Peers inflicted defeats on the Government in key areas such as the customs union.

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