I read last week that the gay partnerships bill was to be delayed from passing its next reading in Parliament and at the time noted, with curiosity, that the bill to ban hunting was to be rushed through. I've written about the latter already so won't rehash my views on that.
If this eircom.net article is true, then it seems that the gay partnership bill may have been delayed at the request of the Rev Dr Ian Paisley, leader of the DUP (the largest so-called 'Loyalist' party in Northern Ireland), because the conference being held at Leeds Castle in Kent between the various political parties there (which has, unsurprisingly, broken up without positive result) and the UK and Irish Prime Ministers precluded DUP MPs being in the House of Commons, where they would have opposed the bill.
Politics is a dirty business, I know that. I am not naive. However, Tony Blair is even more of a slime-ball than I would have imagined. Base political motives caused him to force through the hunting bill, base political motives caused him to delay the gay partnership bill. Is remaining PM really that important to you, Tony?