So that was that. After suffering a massive defeat on the Public Bodies Bill at 5pm (by 122), the Government comfortably won the vote on pushing through their tuition fee policy.
As in the Commons the Tories couldn’t have done it without the Libdems, and the public are right to feel some anger at them over turning their election pledge. Jokes like “Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he promised not to” are very popular.
What was also instructive, given my last blog, was that the issue of convention was Lord Henley when introducing the debate for the Government. There were some on the Labour benches who were very unhappy that the unelected chamber was challenging the Commons, but not many. We knew that even if we lost we had a duty to the public to oppose something many felt so strongly about, that a regulation was being used to change policy, and there was no mandate for this policy.
I am only sorry we couldn’t persuade enough to win the vote.