Peers will vote shortly on an amendment to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill which could kill the boundary changes. Coffee House understands that there is no government whip on the issue, and the Lib Dems are being told to support the amendment from Labour’s Lord Hart which will delay the changes until 2018. A senior party source says:
‘They will be expected to vote for the amendment in line with the public position set out by Nick Clegg.’
The amendment will then move back to the Commons. The government’s attempts, reported over the weekend, to push the reforms through using minority parties have run aground after both the DUP and SNP said they would vote against the changes. There are also at least two Conservative MPs who will vote against: Glyn Davies and Philip Davies. At this stage, things will become rather more acrimonious, with many on the Tory side arguing that it undermines the whole principle of collective responsibility. But my source adds:
‘There is no issue of collective responsibility here because there is clearly no collective agreement and the two parties think completely different things. They do not have collective agreement and therefore collective responsibility does not apply.’
That won’t stop certain backbenchers using the vote to make their views on Nick Clegg’s party abundantly clear.