UK: Government moves equal marriage House of Lords vote to later next day

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Next week’s House of Lords vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will now take place on Tuesday in the daytime after supporters warned voting in the early hours could put the bill at risk.

At least 80 peers are expected to speak in Monday’s second reading debate, raising the prospect that a vote could have been delayed until 2am or later.

Yesterday, shadow equalities minister Baroness Thornton said the debate should instead be stopped before midnight on Monday and then started up again on Tuesday at a more civilised time.

She told the Huffington Post a significant number of peers who wanted to support the bill would not be “strong enough to stay until 3am in the morning”.

However a government source said it was “laughable” to suggest ministers would try and jeopardise their own bill now it’s in the House of Lords.

A government source said to “The government wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise the equal marriage bill and it’s disingenuous to pretend it would. If we need to have the vote in the Lords the next day because second reading is likely to run past peers bedtimes, then that’s fine.

“It was the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats that sought to back bill wreckers with the Civil Partnership amendment in the Commons and it was our efforts that prevented others imposing a £4bn pension cost and an 18 month delay on the bill. It’s laughable to suggest we would try and jeopardise the bill now it’s in the Lords.”