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Thursday 22nd November 2012 | 09:43
Are the tectonic plates of power shifting in the House of Lords?
The Government's triple defeat on the Justice and Security Bill was ostensibly over secret courts. The votes were a real slap in the face for Ken Clarke, who has been allowed to chaperone the Bill precisely because he is supposed to be better at this legal stuff than Chris Grayling.
Of course, the Upper Chamber has long had a strong legal and civil liberties lobby. But the more interesting aspect of last night was perhaps the mobilisation of Lib Dem peers in alliance with Labour.
There were two telling incidents that ought to worry the PM (particularly in the light of the Lord Rennard alliance with Labour on killing off boundary changes to 2018).
First, a couple of Tory Lords Ministers were overheard complaining to one another in the chamber after the third defeat at ‘the ease at which the Liberal Democrats are developing the habit of voting against the government’.
Second, one LibDem peer openly said to a Labour counterpart while going through the same lobby and smiling: 'Oh, I can see this relationship working well in Government…'.
UPDATE: It's worth noting that Tory hereditary peer Lord Courtown was busy tweeting last night.
First he tweeted: "Commonly called a bit of a kicking, 100 majority against Coalition". Then after a further defeat, he tweeted: "And another one 105 majority against, better relax and enjoy?"
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