Allies of Tony Blair will attempt to frustrate Brexit in the House of Lords on Monday by urging peers to rally against the Government.
The former Labour prime minister, last week urged people to “rise up” against Brexit and support a new movement to keep Britain in the European Union.
Lord Mandelson, one of Mr Blair’s closest allies, urged peers to defy the Government and not “throw in the towel early”.
The Labour peer said he believes that the Lords can force ministers into giving Parliament a “meaningful” vote and guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
Lord Hain, who served as a cabinet minister under Mr Blair, will push for a vote on keeping Britain in the single market and call for the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic to stay in place.
He claimed that despite being an unelected peer, he has a right to force major changes to the Brexit Bill.
He said: “Critics say ‘what right have I, an unelected peer, to oppose this Bill or even seek to radically amend it?’ But I was appointed by my party. And in the referendum, two thirds of Labour electors voted to remain. “That’s what I am reflecting, that’s my mandate.”
The House of Lords will this week begin debating the Government’s legislation to trigger Brexit amid reports that six peers are ready to defect from the Labour Party and sit as cross-benchers.
Around a dozen Tory peers are expected to form an alliance with Labour and Liberal Democrat members of the Lords in seeking to defy the Government over Brexit. They believe that with the support of cross-bench peers they have the numbers to send the Bill back to the Commons with amendments.
Lord Mandelson told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that he believes peers will be successful in defeating the Government on migrant rights in a parliamentary vote on Brexit.
“There is a strong body of opinion across the parties and independent peers that both these issues are very serious. If it [the final Brexit deal] is not good for Britain, send the Government back to the negotiating table.
“[We are] trying to instill a bit of courage in the Tory MPs – most of whom seem to have capitulated to the ideologues – put pressure on Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens to say you’ve got to speak up for us when the time comes.”
He urged people to sign up to Open Britain, a pro-EU organisation, and donate money. His appeal comes after The Telegraph disclosed how Lord Mandelson, a former European trade commissioner, is estimated to receive an EU pension worth around £35,000 a year.
Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, responded to Lord Mandelson’s comments by describing him as “yesterday’s man” and said that the Government expects the Lords to respect the result of the referendum.
She said: “Peter Mandelson and others in the Labour Party are trying to frustrate the will of the British people, trying to re-fight a battle he conclusively lost last year. I just listened to Peter Mandelson, it was like the referendum never happened. He needs to move on and the Labour Party need to move on. He’s a blast from the past.
“I fully expect the House of Lords will recognise the will of the people and the will of the Commons which was overwhelming.” Lord Mandelson also claimed that immigration will not fall after Britain leaves the European Union.
He said: “We’re going to have less trade, we’re going to be paying through the nose for it and, broadly speaking, we’re going to have the same number of immigrants coming to the country as well. Is that a reasonable deal? Don’t you think the public will have something to say about that outcome when the negotiation ends?”
Lord Lawson, the former Tory chancellor, will be one of nearly 200 peers to speak during the debates today and tomorrow.
He said: “The Bill went through the Commons on a huge majority without any amendments. It would be wholly wrong and unconstitutional for the Lords to interfere with that in any way.”
This article first appeared at the Telegraph. Read more here.