David Cameron is heading for a fresh showdown with the House of Lords after MPs overturned a vote by peers to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to take part in his promised referendum on European Union membership.
Downing Street urged peers to drop their support for lowering the voting age, but opposition parties in the Lords have insisted they would press ahead with their attempt to widen the franchise for the referendum.
The clash raised the prospect of a game of “parliamentary ping pong” next week over the contentious issue, further inflaming the constitutional row between ministers and the Lords over the powers of the Upper Chamber.
It was brought to a head in October when the Lords rejected George Osborne’s moves to cut spending on tax credits by £4.4bn, a key factor in the Chancellor’s decision to abandon the plan.
That defeat prompted Mr Cameron to order an urgent review of the powers of the House of Lords, where the Tories are heavily outnumbered by Labour and Lib Dem peers.
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