Setback for police Bill

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, suffered another setback in his bid to shake up the police, as the Lords narrowly defeated the Government over planned disciplinary changes.

Peers supported, by 107 votes to 100, a rebel Tory amendment during the Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill's committee stage. This would halt repeal of the police right to legal representation in internal disciplinary hearings and would prevent officers, cleared in the courts of a criminal offence, being disciplined on the same issue.

This was the first defeat for ministers on the Bill, but it follows Government retreats after widespread criticism.