James Forsyth

A defeat that delights the Tories

A defeat that delights the Tories
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Rarely can a government have been so pleased to have been defeated. The Tories are, privately, delighted that the Lords have voted to water down the benefit cap, removing child benefit from it. The longer this attempt to cap benefit for non-working households at £26,000 stays in the news, the better it is for the government. It demonstrates to the electorate that they are trying to do something about the injustices of the something for nothing culture.

The matter will now returns to the Commons where the coalition is confident it can be reversed. I understand that Nick Clegg remains solid on the issue, despite the fact that Ashdown and Shirley Williams led the Lib Dem rebellion in the Lords on this amendment.

Another Commons vote on it will, though, shine a spotlight on Labour’s position. If they vote against this measure which chimes so strongly with the public’s sense of fairness, they’ll be providing the Tories with some very potent ammunition for the next election