The Government has secured a narrow victory on the second of the issues where the House of Commons has rejected amendments passed by the Lords to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.
Last week, the House of Lords voted to allow the Boundary Commission in exceptional circumstances to permit a constituency to be as much as 7.5% above or below the population quota if that is necessary to create a viable, ie workable, constituency.
On that occasion, the vote was 275 in favour of the amendment and 257 against. Today, the vote was much closer: 241 in favour to 242 against.
This means that only one issue goes back to the House of Commons – the 40% threshhold. If they reaffirm the Government’s position, then the matter will return to the Lords at around 9pm tonight.
It will be interesting to see what the Government does with 28 of their backbenchers (27 Tories and one Liberal Democrat) rebelling. The Conservative rebels were:
|Cavendish of Furness, L.||Content|
|Forsyth of Drumlean, L.||Content|
|Gardner of Parkes, B.||Content|
|Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.||Content|
|Hamilton of Epsom, L.||Content|
|Harris of Peckham, L.||Content|
|Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.||Content|
|Howard of Rising, L.||Content|
|Howe of Aberavon, L.||Content|
|Lamont of Lerwick, L.||Content|
|Lawson of Blaby, L.||Content|
|Moore of Lower Marsh, L.||Content|
|Norton of Louth, L.||Content|