May loses 15th Lords vote on Brexit bill as peers vote to keep EU environmental standards – Politics live

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Greener UK, a coalition of 13 environmental organisations, has welcomed the Lords vote. Its chair, Shaun Spiers, said in a statement.

The government has promised world-leading protection of the environment after Brexit. The defeat today shows that parliamentarians of all parties believe that it is failing to live up to this ambition.

It was encouraging to see the prime minister launch a 25-year plan for the environment and promise a strong environmental watchdog. But these announcements and pledges amount to little more than words on paper without the power to hold government to account.

Here are some extracts from the Lords debate. I’ve taken the quotes from the Press Association wires.

Lord Krebs said his amendment was necessary because existing environmental protections in the bill were too weak. He said:

We have heard many times that the purpose of the Bill is to ensure that everything is the same the day after Brexit as it was the day before.

Yet for environmental protection things will not be the same. We’re talking about the protection of our air quality, our water quality, rivers, oceans, habitats and biodiversity.

I believe I am speaking up for this House and for the country. To set ourselves up in such a disreputable way as guardians of wisdom and the common good when so many of the amendments we have passed have simply been an attempt to wreck the Bill and thwart the will of the people is both false and dangerous.

This is a chance for us to vote seriously for the future, to do here what we have done 10 years ago with the Climate Change Act, which this House would never dream of saying was other than a success.

If the prime minister is right and we want a world-class watchdog and we want to set standards for the whole world there is no better way than taking the lessons of the Climate Change Act and putting them here on the face of this Act as the Government actually promised it would.

The irreparable damage that may be done is damage to the environment and our health in the future if we lose the safeguards and protections that we have for our environment …

We are only taking action on these issues because of the prospect of infraction from the EU. If we lose that lever, then we lose the ability to tackle these major environmental issues. It is essential that we insist not just as part of the consultation, but we insist now that part of the powers of a new environmental watchdog must include the ability to take that sort of legal action.

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