Peers voted overwhelmingly last night to amend the Article 50 Bill to force the government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
But May has now insisted that her timetable for divorcing the EU ‘remains unchanged’.
Lords who voted in favour of the amendment were accused of ‘playing with fire’, ‘pointless posturing’ and of ‘doing a disservice to the national interest’.
While rumours circulated that May could face a fresh Tory rebellion following the heavy 358 – 256 ‘defeat’, Conservative whips are confident that no more than a handful of Tory MPs will support the amendment.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the Lords’ vote as ‘great news’, raising hopes that he might instruct his MPs to back the amendment in the Commons.
“The Government must now do the decent thing and guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK,” he said.
The amended Bill will return to the House of Commons on March 13 and March 14, when MPs will debate whether to keep the changes.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said of the vote: “It is a bit of posturing by some people in the Lords who are beating their chests and puffing out their own sense of self-importance.
“My answer to that is ‘jolly good, nice to hear from you, but it has no bearing on Theresa May’s Article 50 negotiations’. It speaks volumes about who some of these people in the Lords think they are and absolutely nothing about Brexit.”