Curiously, the leading frontbenchers from both sides spoke against the cross-party amendment, though then abstained in the free vote on the measure. It is very likely that the measure would pass with a large Commons majority on a free vote.
The Times reports:
Lord Alli’s cross-party amendment was co-sponsored by Tory finance spokesman Baroness Noakes, retired judge and crossbench peer Baroness Butler-Sloss and crossbencher Baroness Campbell of Surbiton.
Supporters included the former Bishop of Oxford, crossbencher Lord Harries of Pentregarth, and Liberal Democrat rabbi Baroness Neuberger.
Leading opponents of the amendment included Tory former Cabinet ministers Lord Tebbit and Lord Waddington.
Lords Leader Baroness Royall of Blaisdon and Tory equality spokesman Baroness Morris of Bolton, a Roman Catholic, both spoke against the amendment but later abstained.
The amendment has yet to be approved by the Commons, but it is unlikely that MPs would make any significant changes to it.
A spokesman for the Government Equalities Office said: “Baroness Royall made the Government’s position clear during the debate; we’re now considering our position and deciding what steps to take next.”
The Christian group Ekklesia, which welcomes the reform, has a report and round-up of reaction.
The religious liberty case for the reform has been made by Stuart White here on Next Left; links and background can be found on my letter to Harriet Harman, published at Liberal Conspiracy.