The Government have suffered another defeat, this time on the Public Bodies Bill. Earlier today, Lord Lester of Herne Hill moved a pavement amendment for a later amendment to limit ministerial powers. In the light of the minister’s assurance that he would look again at the issue, Lord Lester sought to withdraw his amendment but as some peers objected, the question had to be put. In the event, the amendment was carried by 235 votes to 201.
The voting was similar to last week’s on an amendment to the ID Cards Bill. The cross-bench peers divided disproportionately in favour of the amendment, by 59 votes to 8. The turnout on the Conservative side was also notably below strength. Given that the Government lost a vote in which it was supported by Conservative peers, it may be in particular difficulty on some later amendments when it will not be able to carry all its supporters with it.