Phi Wire Hand Picked Politics - Live

  • Anthony Wells | What the final polls tell us

    • source icon
    • 22:46
  • James Forsyth | Final polls put No ahead

    • source icon
    • 22:35
  • George Eaton | Salmond "could step down by November" if Scotland votes No

    • source icon
    • 18:22
  • James Forsyth | Salmond’s biggest myth

    • source icon
    • 18:06
  • Scotland’s No Voters Feel Threatened, Afraid To Speak Out And Think Their Countr...

    • source icon
    • 17:56
  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

  • PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers

News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

A liberal Lords or Backwoodsmen?

There is a lot of chatter around that the equal marriage bill now risks getting bogged down in the Lords.

The idea of Tory 'backwoodsmen' digging in to prevent change is tempting for MPs and journalists alike. But perhaps the Upper House is actually more liberal than many think?

For one thing, the large majority in the Commons tonight makes it difficult for the Lords to defy its will.

Yet the raw arithmetic on the red benches is also important.

Even if 120 Tory peers plus a few dozen crossbenchers and Labour peers vote against the bill, that could see an overall 'No' vote of around 170.

But if you combine the majority of Labour peers and most if not all Lib Dems, progressive Tories and several dozen liberal crossbenchers and you are heading towards around 250 likely to vote 'Yes'.

If anyone doubts that this is can be a more socially liberal House than the Commons, a look at the Government defeats on everything from legal aid to welfare bills last year underlines just how the crossbenches can vote (in both legal aid and welfare, the defeats were achieved without many Libs or Cameroon peers).

On specifically social issues, the Lords passed civil partnerships pretty smoothly. An attempt by Baroness O'Cathain to unpick the act in November 2011 attracted such little support that it wasn't even put to the vote. True, the Lords have in the past turned out against age of consent changes, and turnout is often crucial.

Yet many peers are from legal, academic backgrounds these days and more likely to be, despite their age, of the 'great and the good'/chattering classes/metrosexual (delete as appropriate) persuasion than the caricature of dotty hereditaries wanting to hang and flog the life out of the nation.

That's not to say there is not a strong religious lobby in the Lords (not least given the Bishops who actually sit there).

But to somehow depict the Upper House as a backwoodsmen's paradise may be to miss just how much the place has changed...

Be briefed for £1.50 a week...

PoliticsHome PRO Find out more