I spoke in the debate yesterday on the Second Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The debate was spread over two days. I was the last scheduled backbench speaker – at number 91. However, three peers ‘scratched’ (withdrew their names), so I was actually the 88th speaker. Two other backbenchers then spoke briefly in the ‘gap’ (between the last backbench speaker and the first frontbench speaker). My speech can be read as free-standing speech here. An amendment to reject the Bill was defeated by 390 votes to 148. I was anticipating that there was a majority against the amendment, but I was not expecting it to be defeated by such a massive majority. I have posted a breakdown of the voting here on Lords of the Blog.
Given the number of speeches, those participating were advised to keep them short. I spoke for about seven minutes, responding to the arguments deployed against the Bill. I was not quite expecting the response I got afterwards. There were many excellent speeches and I wasn’t expecting people to comment on mine. However, I have never had such a positive response to a speech – including two expressions of love on Twitter! – be it from people outside the House or from colleagues in both Houses. However, the most rewarding aspect was being told that what I said was influential in how some peers voted. One of the great things (among many) about the House is that members listen to what is said and, by being the last backbench speaker, it meant that I was addressing a packed House.