Peers debate the trade union bill in tonight's report stage.
Triple whammy defeat for government over #TUbill
Members of the House of Lords voted to defeat the government three times inside three hours tonight during the report stage debate for the trade union bill.
The votes concerned substantial amendments to the bill over electronic balloting for strike votes (introduced by crossbench Peer Lord Kerslake), central government-imposed caps on facility time for union reps in local public services (introduced by Labour’s Baroness Hayter), and restrictions on the funds used by unions for political campaigning (introduced by crossbencher Lord Burns, following the recommendations of his select committee – more detail from Nicola here).
Peers delivered a very clear verdict, with the government defeated by heavy margins (majorities of 139, 88 and 148). Several Conservative Peers made principled speeches in support of the amendments, voting against the Government or abstaining.
These significant votes follow a previous government defeat on the bill in the House of Lords in January, when Peers voted to establish Lord Burns’ committee to look into the issues around union political funds.
The TUC’s Frances O’Grady said:
“This is an important result for the 6 million trade union members across the UK. But it’s a bad day for the government. These defeats should be the nails in the coffin of the whole trade union bill.
The government has tried to force this bill through Parliament, ignoring objections from all sides of the House. Once again, peers have rightly held them back.
The government needs to think again and withdraw this damaging and divisive bill.”
We’re expecting more debate and amendments to follow at third reading in the Lords, probably in mid-April, before the bill returns to the Commons for MPs to debate their response to Peers’ amendments.