Can the coalition survive a Lords reform defeat?

Can the coalition survive a Lords reform defeat?

Where will things stand after tonight?

The time-table motion on the Lords reform bill is taking on a significance way beyond the procedural measures for the passage of the bill for which it is ostensibly about.

Without that in place the measure, backed I’m told by 17 Tory cabinet ministers, will have real trouble progressing through the commons and the chances of it being enacted will look even slimmer.

    The bigger question will be what it does to the coalition. Could its time be nearly at an end?

    Will, for instance, Dave promote any of the Tory rebels in the forthcoming re-shuffle? If he does that’s hardly going to help his relationship with Nick Clegg.

There’s been a lot of focus on the boundary changes but I wonder how relevant that all is. It’s going to be a long time before those are ready to be voted upon by MPs – the final boundary proposals are not due until October 2013 and a lot of water will pass under the bridge before then.

We could move to a Lib Dem “supply and confidence” arrangement which would keep a minority Tory government in power but with little ability to do things.

A big question is how the choreography of an end to the coalition would work out. Both the blues and yellows would be trying to blame each other for the divorce.

We could be in for an interesting summer.

Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB

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