Now the Tories have lost, what next? I'm going to tell you: sweet FA. The threats and hints of threats aren't going to come to anything. And here's why. This government is rushing things though for a reason: it is living on borrowed time. Somewhere in a filing cabinet in Number 11 Downing Street, there is a 'George Osborne for Conservative Leader' grid. Its authors, Dave and Gidders, have a fixed legislative timetable set up to maximise the chancellor's chances in the battle to come. The trick is to not only get the controversial stuff out the way early in this Parliament's life in the hope no one will remember come 2020, but to take advantage of the temporary unity of Tory purpose this side of the EU referendum campaign. Hence why there's talk of bringing back the abolition of the Human Rights Act for summer next year, just before recess. According to Dave and Osborne's scheme, the important stuff is out the way with, they can have their idiotic and unnecessary EU renegotiation/referendum in which the Tories will immolate and flay one another. They might call their own some rather nasty names too. Britain votes to stay in, Dave announces his impending retirement for the end of the Parliament and Osbo cruises in to pole position.
It's a tight timetable, and there's barely any wriggle room. Which is why Dave and Osborne aren't going to allow for a blow up over House of Lord reform. They both know packing the upper chamber will damage them when it comes to reducing the number of MPs, and they are equally aware reforming the house is a can of worms where their backbenchers are concerned. It would scupper an already-damaged Osborne's chances if the leadership were to go to war over this. Likewise he can't afford to back down either for being seen as both reckless and weak. The most likely outcome of this damaging nonsense for the government are concessions on Osborne's part. His friendly friends in the media this morning have already indicated he's now in "listening mode", though he was reportedly only interested if the Lords behaved themselves. They haven't, and by defeating the government the Lords are forcing Dave and Osborne to hear things with one arm up their backs. Let the political punishment of awful headlines and barracking from their own side continue.