The House of Lords has just reconsidered the first of the issues where the House of Commons has rejected amendments passed by the Lords to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.
And it is becoming clear that even Government back-benchers (or at least Tory ones) are beginning to realise that the Government’s Bill is deeply flawed.
The issue debated was whether there should be a requirement for a minimum turnout of 40% before a ‘Yes’ vote AUTOMATICALLY – without further Parliamentary debate – leads to the introduction of AV. When the Lords considered this point before, a threshhold was put in the Bill by a majority of just one vote. Yesterday, the House of Commons voted after an hour’s debate to take the threshhold out of the Bill again.
The House of Lords has now voted to put the threshhold back in – but this time by 277 votes to 215 – a majority of 62.
And what was significant was that a string of senior Tory back-benchers – including former Cabinet members, like Lords Lawson, Lamont and Forsyth – now spoke in favour of the threshhold.