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House of Lords ratifies Lisbon treaty

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House of Lords ratifies Lisbon treaty
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The UK parliament has ratified the Lisbon reform treaty, the first country to do so since the Irish rejection in a referendum. Despite moves by opposition Conservative party peers to halt the process because of the Irish No vote, the House of Lords passed the treaty by 277 votes to 184.

The Lords’ vote comes as the UK’s High Court considers two challenges to ratification, one by Conservative MP Bill Cash and the other by businessman Stuart Wheeler who claims the government unjustly decided to abandon plans for a referendum after promising to hold one.

The UK is the 19th country to ratify the treaty in the 27 member bloc. All members have to agree before it can be implemented. Apart from the Irish, there are doubts about the Czech Republic’s position as the constitutional court there is in the process of reviewing the document.

The Lords’ vote came on the eve of a two-day EU summit in Brussels where foreign ministers will ponder how to respond to Ireland’s rejection of a treaty designed to streamline decision making.