Who will blink first in the stand-off between Lords and Government over the Reduction of Seats Bill? Lords watchers among us and the fans of self-regulation are on tenterhooks. Ben Brogan the well-informed Deputy Editor of the Telegraph says he has the outline of a deal. Check it out against events.
The outline of the deal, I am told, would involve the government compromising in three areas in exchange for the Labour bully boys pulling stumps. These are:
allowing some kind of oral public inquiry where boundary changes are contentious, maybe an online public consultationa post legislation scrutiny of some sort, perhaps an inquiry, into the reduction to 600 seats.
a greater amount of variation of seat sizes. David Cameron has told the Lib Dems he’s willing to see a 5pc variation around the final figure (say 75,000), and I’m told he will not give any more, which means this one could be a sticking point.To focus minds, Lord Strathclyde, who has been told by Dave to sort it out, has a closure motion ready to table this evening. It would be put to a vote tomorrow. This is the nuclear device, because while it will be gently worded and will aply only to this legislation, it is the guillotine that will fall on the Lords and at a stroke – if their Lordships so approve – will cut off their history of self regulation.