Their unexpected defeat on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill plunged Government business managers in the House of Lords into a series of farcical manoeuvres.
They initially – like the band on the Titanic playing on after the iceberg had been struck – tried to pretend that nothing had happened and insisted that the House should debate an amendment on transitional arrangements. Even though the amendment referred to a structure that had been taken out of the Bill, it took three adjournments and statements by the Government Chief Whip and then by the Leader of the House before it was decided – two and a half hours after the original defeat – to stop considering the Bill for the evening to allow the Government time to reflect what it intends to do next.

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