Surrender...for the time being


The government has hoisted the white flag - but might haul it down again in the autumn.

The Leader of the Commons, Sir George Young, has just confirmed that they will not attempt to timetable the House of Lords Bill tonight, but added that they may attempt to bring one in later.

Tory rebel Jesse Norman said it was a victory for Conservative MPs, Lib Dem grandee Sir Ming Campbell rather plaintively asked if there was any reason for optimism (derisive laughter)….that Labour might now say what timetable they might support.

This is a horrible moment for Nick Clegg - not least since the period of "reflection" over the summer may well consist of Conservative colleagues doing their best to persuade him to drop the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the bill will go into committee stage with no end point in sight. With 70 plus Tory backbenchers determined to block it, and emboldened by this victory, its prospects look bleak.

And the one concession that might buy some support, allowing a referendum, would raise the prospect of another stinging defeat for Mr Clegg - after the AV referendum, it's hard to be confident that a reform with notional public support would be endorsed by the voters. He may feel that it might be smarter to pull the bill to avoid a defeat which could take Lords reform off the agenda for a generation.

And in the long term, the souring of coalition relationships could mean things get very nasty; as I noted below, the Lib Dems will want vengeance…even if it takes a while to wreak it.

Mark D'Arcy, Parliamentary correspondent Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Mark any comment on the 'limbo' the bill is in? From what Mr Speaker said said yesterday I understand that because the programme motion had been withdrawn a further motion to commit the bill to either a public bill cttee or to a floor of the house ctte is not possible so what happens now? Withdraw the Bill and reintroduce into the HoL?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    The problem I see for the Lib Dems if they look to gain their revenge over Boundary Changes is what reason they can give for voting against. Labour would always face the accusation that they are rather nakedly fighting to preserve a small advantage in terms of num. of MP's returned per vote. The Lib Dems would not only have this but also that they're abandoning their principles to spite the Tories

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Refer post 10.
    Miliband is popular. Why are Labour ahead in the polls when they have Balls and Harman on the opposition front bench?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I would love to see political journalists actually talk about the reforms, about democracy and what it means - but sadly, we just get the dirt.

    Why do the public seem uninterested? Because the media feed them dirt and ignore the important issues.

    Of course, they will say that they are just reporting what the MPs say, but that is a lie - the only questions they ask is about the politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I cant say I have any great problem with the HoL as is. They appear to be troublesome for HoCs and kick stuff back regularly. Good oh. You have to ask if nominated stooges to the HoL would be as effective in that role. In any case it looks as though the Tories were doing a moonwalk with this, just going thru the motions


Comments 5 of 15



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