The Sketch: So was this a U-turn or tactical retreat? Either way, Labour MPs had their well-crafted gloating prepared

Cameron can exult in the unquenchable spirit of his true-blue backbenchers

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The Independent Online

After three days of listening to Mrs Bone's views on House of Lords reform, the Commons will be begging for a programme motion. That's one comforting thought from the Tory business managers.

But it's a sort of golfers' optimism – you slice out on to the wrong fairway and, looking over a hedge, a copse, and a small lake to the green, say: "It's a good way in from here." It's a rotten way in from here.

Sir George Young announced the reversal, or U-turn or tactical retreat or whatever it was, with a dignity the House sorely needs. When some Labour frontbencher intervened to ask to "open up dialogue" between the front benches, he murmured, "The Hon Gentleman almost tests my patience". After the banshee behaviour of the last 24 hours, Sir George is balm to Parliament's soul.

Nick Clegg had another go at Deputy PMQs. We send our young men out to fight and die to impose democracy on the world. Perfectly good point, if you like that sort of thing. And Sir George told us that five people had appointed 75 per cent of the Lords. Tony Blair alone appointed 316 peers.

Is it a victory for Labour? Oh, surely. They had some well-crafted gloating ready, and felt the humiliation of the Tory whips. But then a lot of Tory rebels are exultant too.

Parliamentarians are going to have as long as they like to talk about constitutional issues. Cameron can take quiet pride in the unquenchable spirit of his true-blue backbenchers. Nick Clegg has an issue that 70 per cent of the public supports.

Someone must be miserable and crushed or it wouldn't be politics. What am I missing?