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Summary

  1. The House of Commons began at 11.30 GMT with questions to the Treasury team.
  2. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that he is sending in commissioners to take control over certain functions at Tower Hamlets council.
  3. Conservative MP Fiona Bruce's ten minute rule bill was passed by 181 votes to 1, after being pushed to a division by supporters.
  4. The Modern Slavery Bill passes its final stages in the House of Commons
  5. The day ended with an adjournment debate on the abuse of MPs on the internet, led by the Labour MP John Mann.
  6. Peers sat from 14.30 GMT and the day began with questions to government ministers.
  7. The day's main business was the second reading of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, which cleared second reading unopposed.
  8. The short debate looked at the report of the Economic Affairs Committee on the economic impact of shale gas and oil on the UK's energy policy.

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Join us tomorrow

It's time for us to say goodbye, but please do join us again tomorrow, from 11.15am, when we'll be bringing you live coverage of the House of Commons.

Commons round up

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles told MPs he is sending in commissioners to take control over certain functions at Tower Hamlets council, following the publication of a

report from accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCooper on allegations of maladministration.

During a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Pickles said he was unsure if the report amounted to evidence of fraud but it had identified irregularities in the way the council awarded grants, contracts and sold assets and so would be passed to the police.

Mr Pickles' opposite number, Hilary Benn, said he supported the local government secretary's decision to use his powers to intervene in the council.

The Modern Slavery Bill passed its final stages in the House of Commons after five Labour-tabled amendments were defeated, and a ten minute rule bill introduced by Conservative Fiona Bruce was passed by 181 votes to 1 after being pushed to a division by supporters.

The day began with questions to the chancellor of the exchequer, during which he was questioned over his plans for a Northern Powerhouse, which Labour described as a bribe before the next election.

The adjournment debate, led by Labour MP John Mann, was on online abuse of members of parliament.

Lords finishes for the day

The House of Lords has completed its debate on the report on shale gas and oil, meaning the House can now adjourn for the day.

Peers will be back at 15.00 GMT on Wednesday for the regular daily question session with government ministers.

The main business of the day will be dedicated to the Serious Crime Bill, followed by the Infrastructure Bill.

Commons finishes for the day

Business in the House of Commons concludes as Justice Minister Shailesh Vara tells MPs the government is working to combat online abuse, pointing to new clauses in the Criminal Justice and Court Bill which will allow more serious offences to be heard in the Crown Court - where higher sentences can be handed out by senior judges.

Mr Vara says the government takes online abuse "very, very seriously", and adds that the government will continue to "monitor the situation".

The House of Commons returns on Wednesday at 11.30 GMT, when international development ministers will be questioned before prime minister's questions at noon.

Government response

Wrapping up the debate on behalf of the government, Baroness Verma welcomes the committee's conclusion that realising shale gas potential in a safe and sustainable way could enhance energy security, and provide jobs and opportunities for economic growth.

Baroness Verma
BBC

Minister's reply

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara is responding for the government. He advises any MP that has been the victim of internet abuse to contact the police.

Recent arrests for online "trolling" show how serious the government and the justice system are about combating abuse, he adds.

'Great prize'

Conservative peer Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach says the government has made very clear its support for fracking, but claims its intentions have become "mired in a cautious bureaucracy".

He says there is a "great prize to be won" and impresses on the government the urgent need to speed up and simplify the process of exploration and development of shale gas.

What are adjournment debates?

Adjournment debates are short debates held at the end of a day's business. They are used to bring constituency matters to the attention of government ministers.

'Fake messages'

John Mann claims that he has received "the most extraordinary" fake messages, allegedly in his name, meant to hurt his reputation and create problems in the community, simply for doing his job.

Adjournment debate begins

Labour MP John Mann is leading today's adjournment debate which is on abuse received by MPs on the internet.

'Backed the wrong horse'

"We have backed the wrong horse in the decarbonisation race," says Conservative peer and scientist Viscount Ridley, drawing a comparison with the United States.

He says the US has cut its CO2 emissions, using gas to replace coal, by "three times more" than Europe has cuts its carbon emissions using solar and wind.

Moreover, he tells peers, whereas decarbonisation has cost Europe "hundreds of billions", US decarbonisation with shale gas has benefited that economy "to the tune of £200bn".

Conservative peer Viscount Ridley
BBC

Modern Slavery Bill clears Commons

MPs pass the Modern Slavery Bill at third reading without the need for a vote. The bill has now completed all its stages in the House of Commons and will transfer to the House of Lords where it will be further scrutinised.

The adjournment debate will be coming up soon but first, Conservative MP Nigel Evans is presenting a petition on the impact of new housing in Longridge, Clitheroe and Whalley.

No to Nimby

Lord Giddens, a Labour peer, welcomes the "admirable" and "thorough" report on shale gas, and highlights the potential benefits that shale gas could offer for the UK.

But he cautions that the successful cultivation of shale gas must not distract from investment in renewable energy.

Lord Giddens also stresses the need to combat Nimbyism - i.e. "not in my back yard", warning that it could "sink the whole show".

'Victim based'

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper tells MPs that the Modern Slavery Bill has the wrong focus, and rather than being "enforcement based" should be "victim based".

While the bill is a "positive" step, she questions whether it is going to be effective.

Labour's position

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper is now at the despatch box.

Labour supports the bill, she says, but criticises that "it does not go far enough" and accuses the home secretary of being "too complacent" after turning down Labour's amendments.

She warns that further amendments may be added to the bill when it goes through the House of Lords.

Amendment defeated

That's five for five as MPs reject Labour's proposed New Clause 22, by 283 votes to 229, bringing to an end the report stage of the Modern Slavery Bill.

Home Secretary Theresa May opens third reading - the bill's final stage in the Commons before it is sent to the Lords - by telling MPs the "injustice of suffering" slavery is happening in Britain's towns, villages and cities today, which is why the Modern Slavery Bill is "so important".

More divisions

Labour isn't having any luck with its amendment today but that's not stopping it. After the party's

New Clause 2 is rejected by 288 votes to 234, they instantly push their fifth amendment to a vote.

If passed, New Clause 22 would establish a review of the links between prostitution and human trafficking and sexual exploitation in England and Wales.

Division in the Commons

A third defeat for Labour today as MPs reject their plans to allow greater powers to be extended to the the Gangmaster's Licensing Authority in the future if evidence of slavery occurs by 292 votes to 234, a government majority of 58.

MPs instantly divide on Labour's plans to reverse the government's current policy on tying oversees workers visas to their employer, requiring them to remain with an employer to stay in the country.

Coordination needed

Lord MacGregor tells peers that the risks posed to the environment and public health by fracking are "low" if a robust regulatory regime is in place.

The committee's verdict, he explains, is that the government should take steps to improve co-ordination, clarity and speed of policy making, and its implementation, on shale gas.

It recommends a cabinet sub-committee, chaired by the chancellor, to direct and co-ordinate government policy, "with a mandate to promote well-regulated exploration and development of the UK's shale gas resource".

Voting time

Full House of Commons chamber
BBC
MPs once again pack the chamber ahead of an important vote on the Modern Slavery Bill. Labour's tabled amendment would re-write the bill to allow greater regulation of gangmasters.

Labour MP's opposition

Labour MP John McDonell says he will not support his party's amendment to criminalise those buying or seeking to buy sex.

The evidence, he says, is unclear and he is worried that criminalising aspects of prostitution will force it under ground where it will become more dangerous.

What is fracking?

The process of extracting gas and oil from shale rock is known as hydraulic fracturing - or fracking, as it is more commonly known - and it is controversial.

It involves drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out.

Fracking has concerned environmentalists, who say that it uses potentially carcinogenic chemicals. There are also worries that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors.

The government says fracking could create thousands of jobs as well as reduce energy bills.

GLA 'needs to be extended'

Labour MP Jim Sheridan says there is "no doubt whatsoever" the powers of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) need to be extended into other sectors and to tackle slavery.

Migrant workers are in danger of exploitation from unscrupulous employers and falling foul of health and safety regulations - which can lead to others being injured as well - he tells MPs.

He adds that legal and legitimate gangmasters were in favour of responsible licensing in their industry and the only people, in his experience, who did not want greater regulation were major retailers, who had to be "dragged by their fingernails" into setting up the GLA.

Jim Sheridan
BBC

Energy self-sufficiency in US

The committee's inquiry looked at the United States' experience of shale oil and gas, which Lord MacGregor tells peers has been "astonishing".

The committee's report found that due to shale oil and gas, the US will be more than self sufficient in energy within a decade.

It also found that low US gas prices due to shale extraction have limited international price increases.

The committee concluded that "there may well be potential for economic development of shale gas in the UK", but it found that large scale shale production in the UK was being held back by government regulations.

Shale gas and oil debate

Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market has the floor, as he introduces a debate on an Economic Affairs Committee report on the possible impact of shale gas and oil on the UK economy.

The Conservative peer is the former chair of the committee.

Second reading

The amendment is withdrawn, and - after some confusion of the correct procedure - the bill receives an unopposed second reading.

This means it can progress to committee stage, where more detailed scrutiny and amendment takes place.

Amendment withdrawn

Lord Lloyd reveals he "tried hard" to get Labour to support his amendment, given its criticism of the bill: "But the ways of political parties are really beyond my understanding. Try as I might I simply could not persuade them."

He seeks confirmation from the Labour front bench over whether they would vote against or abstain on his motion, to which Lord Beecham tells him they would do the latter. Lord Lloyd reveals that leaves him in "a quandary", and asks: "So what am I to do?"

After further deliberation, he decides against moving the amendment, surmising that there is not enough support for it to warrant wasting the House's time on a vote.

Withdraw?

As he draws his remarks to a close, Justice Minister Lord Faulks appeals to Lord Lloyd to consider whether it would be better to withdraw his motion, which seeks to block the bill from progressing any further.

Abuse of domestic workers

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees Sarah Teather asked urges the government to reverse its 2012 policy to tie the visas of oversees domestic workers to their employer, requiring them to remain employed to stay in the country.

The result of the new visas is an increase in "abuse and exploitation" Ms Teather told MPs.

The former Liberal Democrat minister said she supported the bill, which was as a "rather unique" position for "a piece of Home Office legislation", but added the bill might be undermined if abuse of oversees domestic workers were not protected.

Defence of bill

Justice Minister Lord Faulks defends the bill, as he summates on behalf of the government.

He explains that it is designed to reassure people who act responsibly, selflessly or for the benefit of society, by ensuring the courts take the context of their actions into account in the event that something goes wrong, and they are sued.

The Conservative peer also insists the bill does more than send a message, as it changes the law, "albeit not in any major way".

And he rejects claims that the "compensation culture" is a "mere figment of the government's imagination", remarking that those who think this are "not paying attention to what normal people say".

Lord Faulks address the House of Lords from the despatch box
BBC

What is the Gangmasters Licensing Authority?

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) is the body which licenses the supply of temporary labour in the agricultural and food production.

The GLA was established after the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, where 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned when they were trapped by sweeping tides, in an attempt to tackle illegal gangmasters profiting from workers while paying little regard to their safety.

The maximum sentence under the Gangmasters Licensing Act for working as an illegal gangmaster is 10 years in jail.

Waste of parliamentary time

Lord Kennedy restates Labour's view that the bill is unnecessary and a waste of valuable parliamentary time.

He confirms that the opposition will not oppose the bill at second reading, and would not support Lord Lloyd's "wrecking amendment" if it is moved to a vote.

Duty on gangmasters

Conservative MP Stephen Barclay stands to support a group of Labour amendments that would put a duty on gangmasters to keep a record of rent books and tenancy agreements of its workers and give police greater powers to inspect properties inhabited by workers in the food production sector.

The current system of expecting a worker, who quite often has come to the UK as a migrant and doesn't know the language or legal system, to bring a private case against their employer is "unrealistic" he says.

Opposition response

That's it for backbench speeches. It's up to Lord Kennedy of Southwark to respond to the debate on behalf of the official opposition.

Lord Hurd's criticisms

Conservative Lord Hurd of Westwell, Margaret Thatcher's former home secretary, reminds the House of the saying, "if it's not necessary to legislate, it is necessary not to legislate", a working principle he fears has been neglected in the case of this bill.

It is partly for this reason that he supports Lord Lloyd's amendment, Lord Hurd explains, and criticises the opposition for shying away from doing so.

Conservative peer Lord Hurd of Westwell
BBC

Concerns expressed

Crossbench peer Lord Aberdare has "considerable doubts" about whether the bill will achieve its desired outcomes.

He has particular concerns over clause four of the bill, which he fears could remove protection from people who act responsibly by taking account of their own safety before acting, as they are taught to do in first aid training.

"Is that the message we want to send?" he questions.

Lord Pannick's views

"I think this bill is a public relations exercise unconvincingly disguised as a prospective act of parliament," opines Lord Pannick.

He argues that the time, effort and money spent on enacting and publicising the bill would have been better spent on press releases and newspaper advertisement.

The peer commends "heroic" Justice Minister Lord Faulks for defending the bill, and draws laughter from others when he says the minister manages to present Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's proposals "in a manner that makes them sound almost plausible, I stress, almost".

However, addressing Lord Lloyd, who is seating behind him, Lord Pannick informs him that he will not be supporting his amendment, if it is pushed to a vote.

Lord Pannick
BBC

Modern Slavery Bill debate

The measure, which will allow a future Home Secretary to empower the Gangmasters Licensing Authority - which regulates the supply of workers to the agricultural, horticultural and shellfish industries - to tackle slavery if evidence of it occurring arises, is the first of a group of 11 amendments being debated together.

The House of Commons will vote at about 18.00 GMT.

Forensic analysis

Lord Pannick, a barrister and independent crossbench peer, is offering his thoughts on the government's Heroism Bill, which he is critically dissecting.

The peer has been a vocal opponent of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's legal system reforms, most recently to judicial review, inflicting three defeats on the government over its Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.

He is therefore "pleasantly surprised" to find that the bill is "so anodyne and so pointless" that the only response it warrants is "a shrug of the shoulder" or a raised eyebrow.

Lord Pannick does not believe it will make "any difference whatsoever" to any case before the courts.

Labour second defeat

A second defeat for Labour as their attempt to introduce an offence of "exploitation" into the Modern Slavery Bill by 288 votes to 225, a government majority of 63.

Not to be deterred Labour instantly begin a debate on their clause to enable the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to tackle slavery.