Theresa May looked as if she were heading the House of Lords Brexit debate on Monday, as she watched from the most important place in the House – next to The Queen’s throne.
The PM exercised one of her rights as a Privy Councillor, and sat on the stairs to the throne in the House of Lords. All members of the council are permitted to do so.
However, only the Monarch is allowed to sit on the gilded throne, which she does each year at the State Opening of Parliament. Here, Her Majesty reads The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s plans for the forthcoming session.
It is thought that Mrs May is the first serving Prime Minister to witness a debate in the other House. watched the opening exchanges on the historic Brexit Bill from the steps of Her Majesty’s throne in the House of Lords.
Peers sat until midnight on Monday and Tuesday, as they scrutinise the law which may mean the Prime Minister does not have power to trigger Article 50 and begin the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Mrs May’s spokesman denied the PM was trying to intimidate the Lords, as she previously warned peers not to hold up her Brexit Bill.
Peers will consider a series of amendments to the bill next week and have been urged by various leading figures in business, political and education to enact changes that will protect EU citizens living in Britain and timetable votes on the final deal.
It is thought that the House of Lords will support an amendment – to allow Parliament a vote on the final deal the government reaches – which would force the issue back to the Commons. With overwhelming support to allow the UK to leave the EU from MPs, it is also expected that they would ignored the demand and remove any amendments made, continuing as before.
Mrs May left the Lords after the two opening speeches on the topic.