PRESS ASSOCIATION -- The Government has been defeated in the Lords after peers insisted, by 251 votes to 219 (majority 32), that legislation to introduce fixed five-year Parliaments should not automatically apply after the next general election.
The coalition has set the date for the next election at May 7, 2015 and wanted future elections to be held every five years after that.
But peers voted in May for a "sunset" clause, whereby the Fixed-Term Parliaments Bill would lapse after the next election, but could be revived by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
That amendment, moved by crossbench QC Lord Pannick and passed by 190 votes to 184 (majority six), was rejected by MPs last week by 312 votes to 243, a Government majority of 69.
In a move led by former head of the civil service Lord Butler of Brockwell, the Lords insisted on their original amendment, leaving the future of the legislation in doubt.
Both Houses must agree to every detail of a Bill before it can become law, and the Government is hoping to enact this legislation before Parliament rises for the summer recess on Thursday.