THE future of the House of Lords could be in doubt as peers are “playing with fire” by trying to thwart Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned.

The Conservative MP, leader of the influential European Research Group of Conservatives, said it was now a case of the “peers against the people” after the Government’s Brexit legislation suffered a series of defeats in the upper chamber.

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His comments came after a petition calling for a referendum on abolishing the House of Lords passed the 100,000 signature mark, which could trigger a debate in Parliament.

Rees-Mogg, speaking in Parliament at an event organised by the Open Europe think tank, said peers “have to decide whether they love ermine or the EU more”.

In a series of forthright interventions, Rees-Mogg said giving preferential immigration treatment to EU citizens after Brexit would be a “racist” policy.

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He also described Theresa May’s approach to Brexit as “enigmatic” and labelled the Government’s proposal for a customs partnership with the EU “completely cretinous”.

The government’s plans for Brexit have been dealt a series of blows in the Lords, with peers inflicting a massive defeat on the issue of leaving the customs union.

Rees-Mogg claimed that peers were breaching the convention that the Lords should not prevent a government implementing commitments made in its manifesto.

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And he said the Prime Minister had made it “absolutely clear” that she would not accept remaining in a customs union after Brexit.

The government is expected to try to overturn the amendment in the Commons and Rees-Mogg warned would-be Tory rebels: “I don’t think it’s fine for people to tell their voters they are standing to leave the customs union and then not to do that.”

In a message to the peers he accused of seeking to “thwart” the referendum result, Rees-Mogg said: “It’s striking that 100,000 people can sign a petition so quickly.”