Normally any late change to the order of business in the House of Lords is agreed through the “usual channels“. This is to make sure that the relevant spokespeople are available.
I understand that the Government are trying to schedule a vote on the Welfare Reform Bill for late on the evening of Wednesday 29th February. This is part of the “ping pong” procedure and will be when the House of Lords considers the reversal by the House of Commons of the Lords’ amendment on the so-called “bedroom tax“.
Normally Consideration of Commons Amendments is given priority in the order of business and is usually taken immediately after Question Time, when the House is at its fullest. This, of course, is the second time that the Bill has been returned to the Lords by the Commons, which means that, if the Lords rejects the latest Commons amendment, the two Houses are moving firmly into constitutional crisis territory. All the more surprising therefore that the Government are trying to take this vote late on Wednesday.
However, is it surprising?
Or is it yet another cynical manoeuvre by the Conservatives and LibDems to make major changes in the benefits system without proper debate and adequate scrutiny?