Yesterday the Lords finished off what we had started in the Commons – the attack on the government’s proposal to lock people up for 42 days without charge or trial. They did it in style. The government could not get many of its supporters to the vote, and faced a rebellion from amongst those who did attend. They went down to a huge defeat.
Many of us went to the Commons at 8.30 pm to hear the emergency statement of the Home Secretary on this flagship measure. For once she showed wisdom, and decided to abandon the measure in the anti terorism bill.
Unfortunately she did not do it with grace. A sensible Minister would have said she had listened carefully to the voices and votes in both Lords and Commons, and decided on reflection to accept the advice of Parliament. Instead we were hectored and told we were wrong. We were told she had prepared another bill to do the same thing, but instead of seeking to put it through the Commons she would place it in the Library.
People think more highly of Ministers who sometimes admit they were wrong, or at least bow gracefully to the views of others when they are strong and have a good case.