New Archbishop backs payday loan amendment

The Bishop of Durham

After last week's mauling on the Justice and Security Bill, is the Government cruisin' for another Lords bruisin' on payday loans?

Peers are spending a couple of days next week on the Report Stage of the Financial Services Bill, and a Labour amendment which would cap the interest payable on payday loans has just attracted the signature of the Bishop of Durham and Archbishop of Canterbury-to-be - Justin Welby. Labour clearly regard his support on this as quite a coup.

The Rt Rev Prelate (to lapse into Lords-speak) is both the head-in-waiting of the Church of England, and a member of the powerful Parliamentary Banking Commission, where his put-down to the chancellor, at a hearing this week, about his army of straw men, was relished by observers.

Even before his promotion was announced, he was clearly gathering admirers and influence. Now, Amendment 114d, from the Labour Peer, Parry Mitchell, has been signed both by Bishop Welby (in his current guise as Bishop of Durham) and by the Crossbencher, Lady Howe, an active campaigner on an impressive range of issues - and, between them they may well attract vital crossbench support.

The government has already been defeated on the Financial Services Bill , mostly as a result of Tory no-shows, on a procedural vote. And after the kicking they received last week, some observers are beginning to wonder if the Coalition is beginning to splinter, or at least suffer a midlife-itis, on the red benches of Their Lordships' House.

The ever-helpful Constitution Unit have broken down the voting on last week's three Government Justice and Security defeats in the Lords, and the voting pattern was consistent across all three defeats - 50 plus Crossbenchers and 50 plus Liberal Democrats and 2 or 3 Conservatives, voting against the Government - many more than voted with it. And, incidentally no Bishops voted with the Government in any of the three votes.

The result was substantial majorities against the Government line - 105, 99 and 87.

I don't know if the Financial Services amendments will attract the same level of support - but if Conservative and Lib Dem peers add their signatures to them, then the Government whips will have cause to worry.

Again. Regular defeats in the Lords, on substantial issues, are becoming a constant irritant in the coalition, particularly since a key ingredient in those defeats is almost always the defection of Lib Dem peers.

None of the issues so far have been at the heart of the Government's programme, but the votes do seem to home in on certain faultlines around civil liberties and market regulation.

This makes the inconvenience of defeat all the more annoying for ministers, especially where they have had to persuade MPs to grit their teeth and vote for uncomfortable causes in the Commons, only to see Peers upset the apple cart.

Mark D'Arcy Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

Week ahead

A certain amount of fag-end legislating, next week, as MPs and peers finish off several bills.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    It is somewhat depressing that in 2012, men can see other men in peril and rub themselves raw at the prospect of fleecing him wholesale.

    Maybe, in their TV adverts or mailshot literature, they should be forced to say "we want to rob you because you are poor; your debt loop is our bread and butter. We wish you to starve your children so that ours may eat".

    That is the crux, after all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    24 JC I refer you to the response I gave earlier @16 ... think where the vulnerble would go if regulated services were denied to them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Toon 1414
    A brilliant response.Hope you can provide an equally brilliant answer to this question.
    Should our nanny state protect our moneylenders?
    Or the people who have no choice?

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Ok, obviously a number of naive punters want to stop so called payday loans. Precisely where do you want to draw the line? Where does personal responsibility stop and the nanny state start?

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    This is why we should not have an elected HoL...just gives Party Leaders more Power and takes away HOL indepdence as a 2nd chamber to more closely represent public opinion away from the Daily Headlines or internal Party Dynamics of pleasing different groups...

    The Only reform I support is a cap on no more than 50 peers a year,stop cameron flooding the chamber with eton alumini


Comments 5 of 26


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