Following some mutterings in the past days, the House of Lords has now voted against the bill to abolish the Lord Chancellor and create a new supreme court. The House of Lords can’t kill bills, but they can delay them, and when is there going to be time to reintroduce the bill? Not in this session (before summer). It is also very rare for the House of Lords to disagree to this extent with the Commons, and for the Commons to overrule the Lords. The Independent reports:
bq. In dramatic Parliamentary scenes, peers overruled the will of ministers and voted to delay a crucial part of the Government’s programme.
bq. The vote, being seen as an attempt to wreck the entire Bill, is a major setback for Tony Blair and may lead to a brutal showdown with the House of Lords.
bq. Baroness Amos, the leader of the House of Lords, told peers: “This House has taken a very serious step. By this vote, this House the unelected House has made it impossible for the democratically elected House of Commons to receive this Bill, promised in the Queen’s Speech in November, in time to consider it this session. That is very serious indeed, and the Government will consider what the consequences may be.”