So George Osborne has been defeated and the cuts to tax credits will be delayed after m’Lords defeated the Government last night.
For now, the impact of this Government defeat is that the transitional arrangements to help people affected by tax credit cuts will be set out in the Autumn Statement and the reductions that were due to start in April will be delayed.
Politically this is being spun as a big loss for Osborne and undoubtedly it is embarrassing. However, it’s not a terminal hit.
Firstly, the defeat is early in the Parliament. His omnishambles budget of 2012 was long forgotten by the time the election came around this year. The timing of this defeat leaves him plenty of time to repair any damage to his reputation.
Secondly, m’Lords have given Osborne and the Government an opportunity to change the story. Intervening in such a forceful way on government policy has allowed Osborne to accuse the Lords of triggering a constitutional crisis. Whether he makes this stick is another matter.
Thirdly, as we’ve seen over the course of his time at the top of government Osborne is smart. Or lucky. Either way he’s shown traits of being a political survivor.
Overall tonights vote has given temporary relief to people who would have been affected by the changes to tax credits. They’ve had a strong lobby on their side from all Opposition parties in Parliament, the Lords and even the right wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute.
But, as Osborne thinks again all opposing sides will know there is still much to do.