The amendments address the EU (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 [bill, PDF] and require ministers to explore possibilities for remaining in the EU customs union. The debate [minutes] over the amendments lasted nearly five hours with lords expressing concern over Brexit's impact on the UK's economy and trade. The votes were based on two reports [12th Report, PDF; 20th Report, PDF] by the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee on the Brexit bill.
Prime Minister Theresa May's governing conservative party is outnumbered in the House of Lords, and the amendments were defeated by votes of 345-225 and 314-217. The government, however, dismissed the vote [BBC report] as inconsequential to their effort to leave the EU. In a statement, a spokesperson elaborated that "[the government's] policy on this subject is very clear. We are leaving the customs union and will establish a new and ambitious customs arrangement with the EU while forging new trade relationships with our partners around the world." The conservative party currently clings to a small majority of 13 votes [Reuters report] in the House of Commons.
With five more votes scheduled in coming weeks, the amendments suggest [Guardian report] more setbacks for May in the near future.