Cameron fights to bring rebels to heel

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The bitter row over House of Lords reform continued to reverberate through Westminster last night as David Cameron battled to shore up support from his own MPs.

The Prime Minister addressed his party’s backbench 1922 Committee following the huge Tory rebellion on Tuesday night over proposals to replace the existing Lords with an 80 per cent elected chamber.

Eight Yorkshire MPs were amongst 91 Conservatives who voted against the Bill, which was kicked deep into the long grass after the Government was forced to withdraw its timetable for pushing it through the Commons.

The row spilled over into Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday as Mr Cameron was confronted with reports he was involved in an angry confrontation with rebel ringleader Jesse Norman.

Hull Labour MP Karl Turner said he saw a “very angry” Mr Cameron make a beeline for Mr Norman before “pointing his finger in his face”.

Challenged by Labour leader Ed Miliband about the incident, Mr Cameron dismissed the claims as a “bunch of tittle tattle and rumour” and “half-baked gossip”.

But Mr Miliband told MPs: “He lost control of his party and, not for the first time, he lost his temper as well.”

One backbench Tory, Anne Marie Morris, became an instant internet hit after attempting to rally her fellow Conservatives with an extraordinary red-faced rant about the Coalition’s record.

Her arm in a sling, the South West MP yelled and shouted about Tory education policy.

There were suggestions last night Mr Cameron may attempt to push through a watered-down version of the Lords reform package. But earlier in the day, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg had made clear he expects the Prime Minister to deliver on what he has promised.

“A deal’s a deal, and it’s important you stick to that deal and you stick to the contract, if you like, that you have entered into,” said Mr Clegg.

“That’s why it is important that we deliver House of Lords reform, because it’s a clear commitment in the coalition agreement.”

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