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Government defeats in House of Lords: May to December 2015

Lordsdispatchbox4x3.jpgAn overview and analysis of votes in the current parliamentary session

Of 42 votes to date, 23 have resulted in government defeats.

16 have been on Lords starter bills (ie, with no scrutiny so far in the Commons) – with Ministers acting in an unusually intransigent way at Committee stage, more often than refusing to make the type of concessions Peers would expect and over-relying on the future use of regulations. This has been picked up variously by both The Constitution Committee and The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. In addition, there has been 1 defeat on a Commons starter bill (subsequently overturned), 5 on Secondary Legislation (with 3 since adopted by the government), and 1 on a procedural motion (led by a Crossbencher).

Those 16 defeats on Lords starters:

Cities & Local Government Devolution Bill (13, 15 & 21 July) – 6 defeats

  • Requiring annual report to allow tracking of devolution.
  • Requiring ministerial statement before every bill to declare compatibility with principle that powers should be devolved to the most appropriate local level.
  • Clarity over mayoral model and conditions for agreeing transfer of local authority or public authority functions.
  • Gives 16/17 year olds right to vote in local government elections.
  • Allows authorities with a mayoral model to reverse change of governance, executive arrangements, or referendum following petition.
  • Ensures Health Secretary accountability over devolved health services to prevent devolution of regulatory or supervisory functions vested in national bodies; and ensure transferred functions adhere to service standards.

Psychoactive Substances Bill (14 July) – 1 defeat

  • Makes offences in the Bill have aggravating factor in relation to prisons and prisoners.

Charities Bill (20 July) – 1 defeat

  • Reaffirms that independent charities may not dispose of assets if against guiding principle of charity, as set out within trust deed.

Childcare Bill (14 October) – 3 defeats 

  • Sunrise clause: until funding review complete to prevent the Bill from coming into force until the conclusions have been published.
  • Requires regulations to ensure flexibility for parents outside Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm; and during school holidays.
  • Regulations to be affirmative resolution requiring SIs under the Act to have enhanced parliamentary scrutiny; as so little information given during passage of the Bill.

Energy Bill (19 & 21 October) – 3 defeats

  • To widen objectives of the Oil and Gas Authority to include oversight of decommissioning of infrastructure, and its use for transportation and storage of greenhouse gases; and for a review after one year rather than three.
  • Delete clause to prevent Government bringing forward closure of onshore wind renewables obligation; and ensure investors get their previous offer. (Conservative broken election promise.)
  • To help secure investor confidence in power sector decarbonisation by introducing a simple change to how carbon budgets are calculated – counting actual emissions instead of those after trading, creating a much more certain investment framework.

Enterprise Bill (30 October) – 2 defeats

  • Ensures environmental objectives of UK Green Investment Bank are specified in articles of association, and requires directors to review actions against objectives.
  • Requires pub-owning businesses to offer market rent only option to tied pub tenants, and rent assessments.

The 1 defeat on a Commons starter:

European Union Referendum Bill (18 November) – 1 defeat

  • To extend franchise on referendum includes 16/17-year-olds. (Since overturned.)

Plus 5 defeats on Secondary Legislation:

Universal Credit Regulations (13 July) – 1 defeat

  • Regret motion to delay enactment of regulations until full roll out of UC. (ie, with no negative effect.)

Criminal Courts Charges Regulations (14 October) – 1 defeat

  • Regret motion critical of fixed fines. (With an effect, but Gove subsequently announced overhaul.)

Tax Credits SI (26 October) – 2 defeats

  • Crossbench Motion to delay pending response to IFS Report
  • Motion to delay pending consultation and report to Parliament on a scheme for full transitional protection for three years; and response to IFS report (as above). (Osborne announced rethink at Spending Review.)

Electoral Registration and Administration Regulations (27 October) – 1 defeat

  • Amendment to LibDem fatal motion to outline reason for rejecting SI, as going against Electoral Commission advice. (Government won vote on amended fatal.)

And 1 defeat on a procedural Motion:

EVEL (21 July) – 1 defeat

  • Crossbench led motion to establish joint committee of both Houses to examine constitutional implications of Government’s EVEL proposals for the Commons.

Published 21st December 2015




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