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  
Elton, L. Content  
Flight, L. Content  
Fookes, B. Content  
Forsyth of Drumlean, L. Content  
Gardner of Parkes, B. Content  
Glenarthur, L. Content  
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L. Content  
Hamilton of Epsom, L. Content  
Harris of Peckham, L. Content  
Higgins, 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  
Mawhinney, L. Content  
Moore of Lower Marsh, L. Content  
Northbrook, L. Content  
Norton of Louth, L. Content  
Plumb, L. Content  
Reay, L. Content  
Sharples, B. Content  
Swinfen, L. Content  
Tebbit, L. Content  
Trenchard, V. Content  
Trumpington, B. Content
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