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Same sex marriage bill ‘could be defeated by peers’

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The government’s same sex marriage bill could be defeated in the House of Lords, former Chief Constable of the West Midlands Lord Dear has said.

MPs voted in favour of a bill legalising gay marriage in February. However, the independent peer claimed The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill gained its Commons majority with a lot of unofficial “arm-twisting” and warned that the Lords could still reject the bill.

Lord Dear said he has not decided whether to back the bill or not, and is still “sounding” opinions of the Lords. However, in a letter he wrote to 400 peers at the weekend Lord Dear suggested that David Cameron “shunted” the bill through, with “wholly inadequate” scrutiny in the Commons.

“The thing that really bothers many is that the normal process for something as potentially divisive as this has not been followed”, the peer wrote.

“The feeling in the Lords is that although (in the Commons) the whip was officially declared not to be on there was a lot of arm twisting going on.”

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