"The fact that the Labour party is using the House of Lords in order to obtain a vote on the customs union in the House of Commons is contemptible – The Labour party said it would respect the vote of the referendum [but] now [is] using the undemocratic House of Lords in order to engineer a vote on subverting the referendum," Batten, who also serves as the member of the European Parliament for London, said.
The comment refers to the Wednesday's cross-party amendment to the Trade Bill adopted by the UK upper house, calling on the government to form a customs union with the bloc. Thus, UK Prime Minister Theresa May will likely face a fresh vote in the House of Commons on retaining a unified customs framework with the European Union, even though the Cabinet has previously ruled it out.
The leader of the party called for the creation of a democratically elected upper chamber so that the legislative body would represent the will of people.
"I think the House of Lords already signed its own death warrant when it opposed Brexit last year, and now we quickly need to summon the executioner and see them off. We need to get rid of the House of Lords and replace it with some kind of democratically elected second chamber that is truly representative of the people and not a load of political place-men and women who have been put there for favors rendered to political parties," Batten underlined.
Next week's vote in the UK Parliament will likely see Article 50 extended, something that could lead to the endorsement of a deal that does not involve London fully severing its political ties to Brussels, according to the lawmaker.
"The political establishment comprised of the Conservative party and the Labour party are now working all out to overturn the referendum, either to keep us in the European Union or make sure we can join again after a short period of Mrs May's 'not really leaving' agreement … This bears out what I had feared, which is that Parliament will try to keep us in the customs union. What I said recently is that Parliament has rejected Mrs May's withdrawal agreement, not because it's bad but because it isn't bad enough," Batten added.
The United Kingdom remains deadlocked in on-off talks over amendments to the current terms of exit, due on March 29. Talks on Tuesday between EU officials and May's top lawyer, Geoffrey Cox, also yielded little results, with Brussels remaining intransigent over the now infamous backstop mechanism that critics fear may keep the country tied to a common customs framework with Europe.