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Summary

  1. Tuesday in the House of Commons began with questions to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
  2. The Recall of MPs Bill - which would allow voters to deselect an MP if they are found guilty of serious wrongdoing - cleared its first parliamentary hurdle
  3. Under the government's plans an MP could be unseated if 10% of voters sign a petition, after the MP is sent to jail or given a prolonged Commons ban
  4. Other business of the day included a ten minute rule bill on sex education and an adjournment debate on HS2
  5. Lord Freud "unreservedly" apologises to the House of Lords after suggesting people with disabilities "are not worth" the minimum wage
  6. The Deregulation Bill survives three attempts by Labour to scrap large sections of it and completes committee stage in the House of Lords

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Deregulation Bill summary

The Deregulation Bill passes committee stage after surviving several attempts by labour to scrap large sections of it.

Plans to allow taxi drivers to lend their vehicles to family members when they are off duty - to "lift the burden" of having to run a second family car - were dropped from the bill by the government, with the view to introduce them later as part of a wider package of changes. Labour had previously claimed the reforms could put women and vulnerable passengers at risk of rogue drivers.

The bill will now move to report stage in the House of Lords where peers will get another chance at scrutinising, and possibly amending, the bill.

House of Lords rises

The debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina has finished, which brings to an end the day's business in the House of Lords.

That wraps up our live text coverage of today's proceedings in Parliament. Please do join us again tomorrow, when both the House of Lords and the House of Commons will return.

Shared frustration

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St John's tells the House that she shares Lord Ashdown's frustration that Bosnia and Herzegovina is "at a standstill."

She reassures the house that the government is "still active in the resolution of what's happening in the Balkans" and is "determined to move forward."

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St John's
BBC

'Success story'

Responding to the debate for Labour, Baroness Morgan of Ely says she will try on "look on the bright side" of the situation in Bosnia.

Baroness Morgan tells peers that the fact that the Dayton peace deal, the US-brokered act that ended the Balkans war, has led to an "absence of conflict" where there had once been years of war is a "success story".

But, Baroness Morgan explains, Dayton also "bequeathed one of the most complicated electoral systems in the world" which "re-enforced" and "entrenched" ethnic divisions, and in turn led to Bosnia becoming "politically paralysed."

Baroness Morgan of Ely
BBC
Baroness Morgan of Ely

Close of the Commons

That brings to an end today's business in the House of Commons but do stay with us as we bring you the latest goings-on in the House of Lords, where peers are currently debating the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Adjournment debate

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill is responding to Cheryl Gillan's adjournment debate on HS2. He notes the MP's concerns about the compensation package available but insists it meets the government's policy objectives, which he lists as fairness, value for money, community cohesion, feasibility, efficiency and the functioning of the housing market.

Recall round-up

Although MPs unanimously agreed to pass the Recall of MPs Bill at second reading, there was much criticism of the government's proposals.

Many backbenchers were unhappy that the mechanism gives parliament a role in the process - and pledged to support amendments by Conservative Zac Goldsmith to put the power solely in the hands of voters. The bill as currently drafted would leave the initial trigger in the hands of the Commons Standards Committee, which is mostly made up of MPs.

'Depressing' situation

Concluding his speech, Lord Ashdown apologises to peers for using stronger than usual language in the House of Lords but tells peers he is "depressed" by the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He tells peers that "for the first time" he cannot discount the fact that Bosnia might slide back into conflict and calls on the government to do more.

"The threat is that Bosnia, unlike the rest of the Balkans which is moving forward, sinks into a black hole of corruption and dysfunctionality", he adds.

Lord Ashdown
BBC

Adjournment debate

It's time for the closing debate of the day - known as an adjournment debate. It is on the compensation package for phase one of HS2, and is being led by Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan - a vocal opponent of the proposed high-speed rail link between London and the West Midlands. Adjournment debates usually last for around half an hour.

Remaining orders

The speaker rattles through the remaining orders of the day, after which David Morris, the Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, presents a public petition on traffic calming measures on Glentworth Road East in Westgate.

Recall Bill clears second reading

In his final remarks, Deputy Commons Leader Tom Brake says the Recall of MPs Bill is about "providing public accountability in proven cases of wrongdoing" - and commends it to the House. The bill receives an unopposed second reading, meaning it can progress to the next step in the legislative process: committee stage.

'Drowsy apathy'

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown begins the debate by telling peers that Bosnia and Herzegovina has "gone backwards" over the last five years "in the most dangerous way."

This is despite the fact that Europe has more "leverage and power and influence" in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in any other country.

He blames the decline on a "drowsy apathy in other European capitals" and "the most single failure over the last seven years from Brussels" to act.

Recall debate

Government minister Tom Brake is responding to comments raised by MPs during the nearly six-hour debate on recall, in the remaining minutes left.

'Middle ground'

Batting for the government, Deputy Commons Leader Tom Brake says the government has aimed to strike a "middle ground" with "sensible and balanced proposals" for a recall mechanism aimed at addressing wrongdoing. The Lib Dem minister says the Recall of MPs Bill aims to provide a "robust, fair and open process" that is suitable this system of parliamentary democracy.

Proposed Labour amendments

Thomas Docherty reiterates Labour's support for the bill, asserting that where there is "clear evidence of serious wrongdoing", and that the public "has a right to remove or replace their MP".

But he says the legislation does not go far enough, and indicates that the opposition will work to strengthen the proposals to ensure it commands public support. The party will set out its proposed amendments in the next few days, the shadow minister informs MPs.

Government wins vote

The Deregulation Bill passes its committee stage in the House of Lords as the government survives a Labour-led attempt to scrap cross-border subcontracting of taxi bookings, winning the vote by 221 to 175, a majority of 46.

Bosnia and Herzegovina debate

Next, peers will take part in a debate on the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Lord Ashdown.

Bosnia-Herzegovina's recent election was hampered by divisions as nationalist candidates from all three ethnic groups won the race for Bosnia's tripartite presidency. The three-member collective presidency was established as part of the US-brokered Dayton peace deal that ended the war following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

Tensions between Bosniaks (Muslims), Serbs and Croats have persisted since the 1992-95 war in which 100,000 died. The conflict centred on whether Bosnia should be in the Yugoslav Federation or an independent country.

Voting time

Peers are voting on the government's plans to allows cross-border subcontracting of taxi bookings.

The plans, which make up clause 12 of the Deregulation Bill, would lead to taxi bookings being passed to any operator around the UK, regardless of their location.

Labour claims it would also allow a watering down of taxi licensing and could lead to private hire vehicle drivers opting to get licensed in the "least-stringent" area while at the same time leaving licensing authorities without the enforcement powers over those then operating outside of the area.

Winding-up speeches

It's time for the winding-up speeches now, beginning with the opposition. Shadow deputy leader of the Commons Thomas Docherty begins by expressing his disappointment that Lib Dem leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg has not been present in the debate, given that the bill is in his name.

Role of the media

Intervening, Labour's Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn warns that the media could attempt to - and succeed - in getting rid of an MP that takes unpopular decisions through a systematic and well-funded media campaign. But Graham Stuart contends that it would only be for voters in an MP's constituency to initiate a recall process, not the media.

Sunset clause

Graham Stuart, the Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, is of the opinion that the public should be trusted with the power of recall, but stresses that there must be suitable safeguards to ensure a tiny minority cannot abuse the mechanism to try to unseat MPs they disagree with politically.

He suggests there could be a sunset clause in the bill to allow its provision to lapse after a specified time, if it was found that recall was being used to challenge members for the way they vote.

Continued protection

Transport Spokesperson Baroness Kramer tells peers that ending mandatory licence checks for taxi drivers will "reduce the financial and administrative burden on taxi and private hire drivers."

She said the changes would not "in any way" affect the "tough" laws on vehicle licences, which already protect customers from unscrupulous drivers and taxi firms.

Transport Spokesperson Baroness Kramer
BBC

Licence checks debate

Peers begin debating the government's plans to end mandatory licence checks for taxi drivers, allowing licences to be updated every three years.

Labour want to scrap the plan as they say the reform is likely to make it "more difficult for licence officers to monitor behaviour, and ensure drivers are fit and proper" and hinder them in "taking action where appropriate."

Recall debate

The current debate on the Recall of MPs Bill is scheduled to conclude at 19.00 BST. About 20 minutes before, the wind-up speeches by the opposition and government front benches will begin.

Second reading debates

Second reading debates are an opportunity for MPs and peers to debate the general principles of a bill. If either House agrees to approve a bill at this stage, it proceeds to a committee - where further, more detailed scrutiny is undertaken.

Dropped plans

Transport Spokesperson Baroness Kramer tells peers that the government will be dropping its plans to allow taxi drivers to lend their vehicles to family members when they are off duty - to "lift the burden" of having to run a second family car - from the bill, with the view to introduce them as part of a wider package of changes to the law in the future.

Labour had previously claimed the reforms could put women and vulnerable passengers at risk of rogue drivers.

Transport Spokesperson Baroness Kramer
BBC
Transport Spokesperson Baroness Kramer

Recall debate

The next speaker is Lib Dem Mike Thornton, who jokes that "there is no such thing as a safe seat" for his party. The Eastleigh MP says there are "serious flaws" with the legislation, the key one in his mind being that the public will conclude that only parliament has the decision over who should be kicked out.

Mr Thornton insists there must be a way for voters to initiate a recall so that the public can see that "we are honourable". But he fears Zac Goldsmith's proposals are too "long-winded" and could be open to be political abuse. There needs to be a compromise between the two plans, to make recall "workable, practical and fair", he adds.

Peers reject Labour move

Peers have rejected a Labour-led attempt to scrap government plans to remove employment tribunals' power to make recommendations in discrimination cases which affect the employers' dealings with persons other than the claimant by 234 votes to 194, a government majority of 40.

Peers voting

Peers have divided on government plans to remove employment tribunals' power to make recommendations in discrimination cases which affect the employers' dealings with persons other than the claimant.

The government are trying to remove the power, which they say "complicates" the tribunal system and "serves no clearly defined purpose" as part of the drive to cut down on red tape.

Labour claims that the powers are an "effective way of preventing discrimination" and allow employment tribunals to address the root causes of discrimination in the work place.

Results are expected soon.

Support for bill

Former Commons Leader Andrew Lansley offers his support for the government's bill, and sets out his opposition to amendments proposed by party colleague Zac Goldsmith, which he said would "undermine" MPs if the mechanism is "used and abused".

Mr Lansley says the legislation proposed by the government offers an "objective and fair process" for recall and addresses a "perceived gap in the regulatory processes" relating to MPs who commit criminal offences or breach the code of conduct.

Andrew Lansley address the Commons
BBC

Government position

Responding for the government in the House of Lords, Lord Wallace of Saltaire tells the peers that employment tribunals' power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases is "anomalous" in the tribunal system and has "proved problematic", "raised concerns" and "led to additional costs" since its implementation after the Equality Act 2010.

As part of the government's "red tape challenge", it is their duty to remove this legislation, as it "does not have a clearly defined purpose".

He reassures peers that what the government is proposing "will not result in a reduction in either the rights of complainants [in tribunals] or the effective power of tribunals."

Cabinet Office Spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire
BBC
Cabinet Office Spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire

Peer attacks government argument

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury attacks the government's argument that restricting the powers of employment tribunals would reduce the burden on employers, saying the vast majority of recommendations were "helpful to the employers".

"We're not talking about an additional burden," he told peers. "We're talking about something that assists the employer to avoid similar tribunal cases in the future."

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury
BBC
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury

Recall Bill

Speaking in support of recall - and the amendments being proposed to the government's bill by Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith - Mark Durkan, the SDLP MP for Foyle, argues that such a mechanism would "add to the standing" of MPs.

"We shouldn't be here trying to proof ourselves and protect ourselves against the scrutiny of democracy, against the standard of democracy," he argues.

House of Lords

Labour peer Lord Rooker tables an amendment to stop the government's plans to restrict the powers of employment tribunals.

Under the proposed changes, employment tribunals will no longer be able to make recommendations on work place changes that do not directly deal with the grievances of a tribunal claimant.

Lord Rooker, who was chair of the joint committee on the draft version of the Deregulation Bill, told peers that the power to make wider recommendations was an "effective way of preventing discrimination from occurring and helping employers to comply with their duties to treat the employees fairly".

Restricting these powers would "protect" and give "an easy ride" to "law breaking employees" he said.

Chair of the Joint Committee on the draft version of the Deregulation Bill, Lord Rooker
BBC
Chair of the Joint Committee on the draft version of the Deregulation Bill, Lord Rooker

Recall Bill

Richard Drax, the Conservative MP for South Dorset, adds his voice to opposition of the bill - and laments that the Commons is "naval gazing" instead of discussing events such as the eurozone economy.

Mr Drax - who joined the Commons in 2010 - suggests it is a "knee jerk" reaction to the expenses scandal, and says honour - not legislation - is the answer.

Lords vote

Peers have rejected an attempt by Labour to scrap government plans to remove health and safety rules for some self-employed workers by 253 votes to 175, a government majority of 78.

House of Lords

Peers have divided on government plans to remove health and safety rules for self-employed workers.

Under the proposals self-employed people - excluding those self-employed working in certain sectors which are still potentially hazardous - will no longer be subject to certain parts of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The plans are based on an academic study which has been adopted in other countries and the government have argued that the change will reduce the burdens on business, helping them to achieve growth.

Labour Spokesman Lord McKenzie of Luton accused the government of "weakening health and safety laws that have stood the test of time for 40 years".

Opposition to bill

Labour's Frank Dobson provides a voice of opposition to recall.

The Holborn and St Pancras - who is standing down at the 2015 election - claims it would be undemocratic as "just 10%" of voters could trigger a recall even though the 90% may not want it. The threat to the MP is not that they might lose their job but that they would have to go through a horrible, expensive and personal process even if they survived the recall, he adds.

Mr Dobson also argues that a recall mechanism would "strengthen the hand" of rich individuals, pressure groups, "vindictive" media campaigns and "unprincipled and manipulated" social media targeting.

Labour's Frank Dobson
BBC

@BBCNormanS

BBC's Norman Smith

tweets: "The PM is confident Fiona Woolf will carry out her duties to the high standards of integrity required". - No 10

Home Affairs Committee

As the evidence sessions draws to a close Home Affairs Committee Chair Keith Vaz wishes Fiona Woolf "the best of luck" with her inquiry.

He tells Mrs Woolf that "if she ever needs anything" from the Committee she "just has to write" to them.