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27 Tory peers help defeat Government on 40% referendum threshold

Tim Montgomerie

81% of Tory members think AV shouldn't pass unless 40% of voters turnout in the referendum.

27 Tory peers agree - including Lords Tebbit and Howe, Forsyth and Lawson, and their leader Norman Lamont. They joined together with Labour and other peers to vote (again) for the 40% threshold. Last time the amendment passed in the Lords by a solitary vote but today it passed by 277 to 215; partly because Lord Lamont mobilised the vote.

I hope the Lords hold their ground. Constitutional change should only happen if voters turnout in sufficient numbers to overturn the status quo. My guess, however, is that the Commons will quickly prevail in this trial of strength. I hope I'm wrong.

5pm: I hear that Lord Moore - John Moore as Social Security Security under Margaret Thatcher - voted for the threshold; the first time he has voted against the Tory whip in forty years. Baroness Trumpington cast her first ever vote against the party whip. Mark D'Arcy has some interesting background.


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