TORIES were trembling in their boots ahead of the local elections in England, fearing massive losses and a wipe-out in some areas. After all, a party that has been in power at Westminster for eight years with plenty of setbacks along the way, can normally expect to suffer grievously when the town hall elections come around.

But quaking Tory limbs have been stilled. It was a patchwork quilt sort of election in which the Conservatives fared far better than they had feared. Equally, Labour was hoping for greater things than they actually achieved. “Mixed” was the undramatic word used by shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to describe the results.

The Tories for instance pushed off a Labour challenge to Wandsworth in London, while Kensington and Chelsea stayed in Conservative hands even after the Grenfell tragedy. Elsewhere, Labour took Plymouth, while the Tories gained Peterborough and Basildon, while the Liberal Democrats captured Richmond.

The Conservatives plainly benefitted from the near wipe-out of Ukip. Will they soon disappear altogether? Not an occasion for a big knees-up in any of the party headquarters, but the Tories will be relieved things were no worse than they were.

IS the House of Lords in the early stages of committing an act of hari-kiri? The attempt by the unelected members in the Upper Chamber to kill off Brexit – for that is what some of them have unwisely boasted – is totally at odds with the duties of a second chamber.

It is supposed to be a revising chamber, not a wrecking one, defying the wishes of the elected Members of the House of Commons.

Already people are talking not only about a drastic reform of the House of Lords, but its actual abolition.

There is, one would think, an urgent need to cull the scores of Liberal Democrat peers, when that party has only a handful of members in the Commons. A serious reduction in the number of bishops in the Lords would also be a welcome move in the eyes of many people.

A House of Lords which is deliberately not fulfilling its role does not deserve to exist. Bizarrely, it seems to be doing as much as it can to bring about its own demise.

JOHN Bercow, the Commons Speaker, may well find himself in hot water. He has been accused of having a childlike tantrum, involving the shouting at and mimicking of a senior aide, and then smashing a mobile phone to smithereens. All of this Bercow fiercely denies.

But we will get to the bottom of this because the Prime Minister herself has insisted this should be looked into.

What is hardly less serious than an exhibition of this kind, is that £86,000 was paid out to the bullied member of his staff, Angus Sinclair to ensure (in vain, as it turned out) he kept quiet about these allegations. It would be nice to think this money had come from Bercow’s own pocket, but it is looking as though it was the taxpayer who had to fork out. The very idea of the taxpayer paying out hush money to protect – as it is alleged – a political grandee!