First Lords defeat for coalition government

By staff

The Lords have inflicted the first defeat of a coalition government in an obscure and surprising procedural move.

Peers voted by 154 to 150 votes to back a motion by Lord Howarth which blocked the second reading of the local government bill.

The bill would stop new unitary authorities in Norwich, Exeter and Ipswich, among other locations, but Lord Howarth insisted it had to be sent to the examiners for a report because it was a public and private bill.

It is the first defeat for the coalition government by the Lords, who proved adept at shooting down government legislation during New Labour’s time in power.

The coalition government aims to reform the House of Lords so it is wholly or mainly elected by the end of its five-year term.