On Tuesday 8 June, the House of Lords voted to halt the progress of the Local Government Bill while its status as a public Bill is considered.
The Bill was scheduled to go through the second reading stage, in which Members of the Lords debate the general principles of the new legislation. However, before the second reading Members voted in favour of a motion which questioned whether the Bill's status as a public Bill was procedurally correct, and proposed that it be referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills.
If it is passed, the Bill would stop current proposals to create unitary local authorities, in particular in Exeter and Norwich. The Examiners have been asked to decide whether the Bill is in fact a hybrid Bill, which is a public Bill that affects specific private or local interests.
The vote - or division - marked the first time that the coalition Government has been defeated in the House of Lords during the current Parliament.
No schedule has been set for the Examiners' hearing. Until the Examiners have reported their decision to the House of Lords, the Local Government Bill will not proceed through any further stages in the legislative process.
Details on every division in the House of Lords are available online a short time after the vote has taken place.
Image: Parliamentary copyright. Photo: Mark Crick