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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Oh Lordy. New boundary bust-up

Looks like my blogpost yesterday on the boundary review caused serious ructions in Number 10.

The PM had a 'frank exchange of views' with Nick Clegg once he was alerted to plans by Lib Dem grandee Lord Rennard to back Labour moves to kill off the review to 2018. The Tories accept they have lost upto 20 extra seats thanks to the row over Lords reform, but were assuming any boundaries delay would only be until 2015.

Anyway, amid fears of a Lib-Lab Lords ambush on the Electoral Registration Bill tonight, David Cameron rang the DPM to make clear his surprise at the Rennard move. I understand the DPM's position is that he meant what he said when he said he would block the boundary changes in retaliation for losing Lords reform.

Lord Strathclyde was in panic mode and is considering pulling the entire bill at least temporarily until a deal is hammered out between the PM and his deputy.

There is a wrinkle in all this however. In the House of Lords 'bible', The Companion, there is no provision for business to be unilaterally altered. Section 3.30 refers to the Govt Chief Whip being responsible for the arrangement of business but gives neither that individual or the Leader of the House any additional power or authority to order business.

Business is arranged by agreement through 'Usual Channels' (Govt/Opposition discussions). Changes are either by agreement or on motions to the House. So maybe Strathclyde can't just unilaterally pull stumps on the bill.

Watch this space folks...

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