Government defeats

Lord Norton

The Government has suffered two defeats this week on the Welfare Reform Bill, both attracting considerable media attention.  The fact of defeat is, as I have previously noted, not particularly unusual.   These two defeats, though, are noteworthy, the first for the fact that it was Liberal Democrat votes that accounted for it.  The Government is usually in trouble when there is large turnout of cross-benchers and they divide disproportionately against Government.  As you will see, this did not happen on this occasion.  The second defeat is notable for its scale (270 votes to 128), the largest defeat so far in the session, as a result of all parts of the House coming together to support the amendment.

The vote on Monday on the amendment moved by the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds (to exclude those in recepit of child benefit from the cap) was:

For the amendment:  Bishops 5, Crossbench 37, Labour 175, Liberal Democrat 26, Other 9  [Total: 252]

Against the amendment:  Conservative 152, Crossbench 41, Liberal Democrat 39, Other 5 [Total: 237]

In yesterday’s vote on the amendment moved by Conservative former Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, to remove parents from being subject to fees by the Child Support Agency if they have taken reasonable steps to establish if it is possible to make a maintenance agreement, the voting figures were:

For the amendment: Bishops 1, Conservative 34, Crossbench 57, Labour 155, Liberal Democrats 16, Other 7 [Total: 270]

Against the amendment: Conservative 97, Crossbench 1, Liberal Democrats 30 [Total: 128]

5 comments for “Government defeats

  1. tory boy
    26/01/2012 at 10:31 am

    Which way did you vote on both occassions?

  2. maude elwes
    26/01/2012 at 11:02 am

    I have an instinctive feeling that the ‘winds of change’ are about to become tempestuous gales.

    I look forward to it.

  3. Sharon Morgan
    26/01/2012 at 1:09 pm

    I’m glad there is still a bit of goodness in the world to safeguard us against rediculous reforms that don’t do anyone any good in the long run.

  4. Malden Capell
    26/01/2012 at 2:35 pm

    What is your position on Bishops in the Lords, Lord Norton?

  5. Frank W. Summers III
    27/01/2012 at 3:00 pm

    Lord Norton,

    It appears that when the images of children starving in the British Isles are presented to them the Bishops can be a voting factor in 2012. The vote is such that 237 and five is 242 and 252 less five is 247. Thus if the bishops had not merely abstained but reversed their votes then the gap would have shrunk from fifteen to five and thus they would have brought the government two thirds of the way to its defeat of the amendment if an amendment requires a superior number of votes to pass. Not in the end definable as making the difference but close enough to be mentioned.

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