Despite the supposed in-built Government majority in the House of Lords, the Government lost a further three votes this week on the European Union Bill. On Monday, the Government lost a division on an amendment moved by a former UK Ambassador to the United Nations, Lord Hannay, by 214 votes to 209. (There was second division, which the Government won by one vote, 188 to 187.) On Wednesday, the House carried an amendment moved by a former Conservative Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, by 242 votes to 209 and another, moved by a former head of the Diplomatic Service, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, by 209 votes to 203.
In the first and third defeats, the cross-benchers divided approximately two-to-one against the Government, but what ensured that the Government lost was that in each case a number of Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers voted for the amendment (3 Conservatives and 7 Liberal Democrats in the first, 4 Conservatives and 19 Liberal Democrats in the third). On the second defeat, the cross-benchers divided 52 to 11 against the Government, so ensuring the Government lost, though 5 Conservatives and 10 Liberal Democrats also voted for the amendment.
This brings the total of Government defeats this session to 19. That is 19 more than in the Commons, where the Government majority is clearly that.