The House is again in committee on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. For the second time, the House took the unusual step of passing a closure motion to bring debate on one amendment to a close. The amendment was then defeated. The Opposition objected to the use of this exceptional procedure.
However, the House then moved to debate an amendment moved by former Conservative Cabinet minister, Lord Fowler, to retain the Isle of Wight as a single constituency. This was taken to a vote and, against the wishes of the Government, was carried by 196 votes to 122. The Content lobby was truly cross-party. It comprised 123 Labour, 28 Conservative, 25 Crossbench, 14 Liberal Democrat, and 5 Other peers, and 1 Bishop.
This is the second defeat the Government has suffered on the Bill, somewhat undermining the claims – made repeatedly during Monday’s marathon session – that the Coalition can get through whatever it wants using its presumed majority in the House.
We await developments as to whether agreement is reached between the front benches as to how to make progress with the Bill. Otherwise, we may again be in for some long sittings.