West Midlands UKIP MEP James Carver has hit out against “delaying tactics” by the House of Lords which could leave the UK stuck in the EU with its democratic vote being wiped out.
The Lords is likely to approve Labour’s amendment to the Brexit bill this afternoon which calls on ministers to bring forward proposals to protect Europeans resident in Britain within three months of Article 50 being triggered.
If the bill is sent back to the House of Commons the game of “ping-pong” could delaying the progress of the Bill to beyond March 31 and scupper the UK’s exit as rules, previously agreed by Gordon Brown in 2007, will become law on April 1.
The rules which Mr Brown agreed on behalf of the British people – despite not being elected by them as Prime Minister, are ratified within the Lisbon Treaty and state 14 member states have to approve the exit.
The new set of conditions within the treaty mean a "qualified majority" has to allow the member state which is trying to leave to exit.
A qualified majority is reached when 55 per cent of members of the Council, comprising at least 65 per cent of the population, support a proposal.
Mr Carver accused Labour of “outrageous delaying tactics aimed at thwarting the will of the people”.
The UKIP Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs spokesman said: “We are at risk of being held to ransom by other EU countries who don’t want us to leave as we are the third biggest contributor to the club.
“I implore the Lords to withdraw from these delaying tactics and let the bill through in time to trigger Article 50 within the deadline. Not to do so will fly in the face of the will of the people.”
Mr Carver added that the amendment was “ill-advised” anyway as the status of EU nationals living in Britain and the million UK nationals living in EU countries should be considered together.
He added: “It is important that Europeans resident here are protected – it is also essential that Brits living in EU member states are protected and, whilst in no way wanting people to be used as bargaining chips, we need a level playing field where both groups are treated equally.
“We risk leaving our ex-pats with two years of uncertainty about their future status, and no negotiating leverage with which to fight their corner.”