With a lot of media attention diverted towards Ruth Kelly's supposed misdemeanors over at the Department for Education and Skills, it has been a fairly subdued week here in the Palace of Westminster. However, the fires are still raging over government plans to combat terrorism, including implementing biometric ID cards.
The Terror Bill, which contains a clause that outlaws the "glorification of terrorism", was defeated in the House of Lords yesterday by 270 to 144, on the grounds that it is too ambiguous. Liberal Democrat Lord Goodhart claimed that the offence of glorifying terrorism "goes beyond anything that is justified for the protection of national security".
In what is referred to as "parliamentary ping-pong", the Bill will now return to the Commons, which is expected to re-instate the glorification of terrorism clause of the Bill. Of course, the Commons can force legislation down the throats of the Lords using the Parliament Act, and, seeing as this is one of Labour's key manifesto pledges, it looks highly probable that this will be the course of action Mr. Blair will take if the Lords don't change their minds on this issue.
At Prime Minister's Questions today, David Cameron held Mr. Blair to account on ID cards, calling them "a monument to the failure of big government." This follows a report which estimates the cost of implementing the scheme at £14.5bn (after the Government decided that they would not publicly declare how much the plans would cost). The Lords have again been a pain in the Prime Minister's backside with ID cards, voting against them on Monday. The eternal game of ping-pong continues.
On that note, Londonist must leave Westminster for another week, as we have heard that MI5 could be bugging MP's offices. Who knows who could be listening in...