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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Avoiding the Lords Boundary

Looks like developments are afoot on the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill and the Lib-Lab attempt to kill off boundary changes to 2018.

I am told that Lord Strathclyde is seeking legal advice as to whether Financial Privilege can be brought into play. This would be a delicious irony, given that he wants to oppose an amendment that Labour and the Libs claim would in fact save the taxpayer at least £3.8m (by stopping the existing boundary review).

If financial privilege is applied to the bill, that would mean the Commons can defeat the amendment and avoid the Lords vote completely.

Politically, Strathclyde could be sending out a signal that if the government lose this in the Lords, they believe Tory MPs and a few of the smaller parties (DUP and SNP) could beat a Labour/LibDem vote in the Commons. Whether that's at all feasible on the Commons current arithmetic, it's surely something that would amount to a pretty serious fracture in Coalition working relations.

Plaid Cymru’s role seems uncertain. The Guardian reports today that Plaid’s Jonathan Edwards is thinking about allying with the Tories on boundaries (in return for more powers for the Welsh Assembly it seems). But in the Lords, former Plaid President Dafydd Wigley is backing the Hart/Rennard amendment.

Watch this space.

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