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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Boundary Bombshell?

Now here's a bit of bombshell on the boundary changes.

Labour peer Lord Hart has just tabled an amendment to the Electoral Registration Bill which would have another major impact on the timetable of the Coalition's plans to cut seat numbers.

The amendment, which seeks to amend a clause in Section 10 of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, would mean that the Boundary Commissions reviews will not take place until October 1st....2018. Yes, you read that right, 2018.

The move is Labour's attempt to get certainty for the whole PPC selection process and crucially means that a whole cycle of boundary reviews is killed off (as opposed to getting it in place after 2015).

Killing this whole cycle will also save money, some £3.8m has yet to be spent on top of the £5.8m already spent on the boundaries that never were.

So far, so predictable. Everyone knows Labour is against the changes. But the amendment (which will appear tomorrow on the Order Paper) has not just Labour signatories. It has also been signed by Plaid peer Lord Wigley...and Liberal Democrat heavyweight Lord Rennard.

Yes that's Lord Rennard, party grandee and man of some significance. So is this an attempt by Nick Clegg to pile yet more pressure onto David Cameron? Or is this freelancing?

 

UPDATE: Is Lord Strathclyde so worried about all this that he's now panicking? Word from the red benches is that the Lords leader is trying to change the Order of Business for tomorrow and remove the Electoral Registration bill from consideration. It's pretty short notice to do so. Will he get his way?

 

1030PM UPDATE: Seems that the PM was not pleased about the Rennard support and pulled in Clegg for a 'bollocking' after which Strathclyde was ordered to pull the bill temporarily. Further discussions will take place between Cam and the DPM before it is brought back to the Lords.

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