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Summary

  1. The Home Affairs Committee took evidence on historic child abuse.
  2. Witnesses before the committee included Alison Millar, counsel for the victims' groups and Peter Wanless, chief executive of children's charity NSPCC.
  3. The House of Commons began at noon, with MPs quizzing justice ministers.
  4. Theresa May said she cannot be sure the Home Office did not engage in a child abuse cover-up in the 1980s during a statement on the Wanless report.
  5. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced an investigation into the monitoring of confidential calls between prisoners and their MPs and lawyers.
  6. The National Insurance Contributions Bill cleared its final stages in the Commons and will now pass to the House of Lords.
  7. Following that, MPs examined the medium-term financial plan for the House of Commons and the draft estimates for 2015-16.
  8. The adjournment debate was on improving rail services to the Portsmouth Harbour area.
  9. The House of Lords began at noon with oral questions to ministers.
  10. Peers heard a repeat of the answer to an urgent question in the Commons on the Wanless Review.
  11. The Wales Bill cleared report stage after a day of examination by peers.

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Commons round up

Before we leave you, here's a quick round up of today's events in the House of Commons.

Home Secretary Theresa May made a statement to MPs following an urgent question on the Wanless

report into the Home Office's handling of allegations of child abuse by prominent figures.

During the statement Mrs May said:

  • the inquiry found no evidence that there was a cover-up, or that that records were deliberately removed or destroyed
  • she cannot be sure that the Home Office did not engage in a child abuse cover-up in the 1980s
  • the Home Office will accept the recommendations of the report
  • some of the historical allegations of abuse covered by the report are now being investigated by the police, including claims made by journalist Don Hale that files he had been given by former Cabinet Minister Barbara Castle containing abuse allegations were seized by Special Branch Officers and suppressed.
Theresa May
BBC
The home secretary tells MPs she cannot be sure that the Home Office did not engage in a child abuse cover-up in the 1980s

Later, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling revealed in a statement that confidential conversations between prisoners and their MPs and lawyers may have been taped and listened to by prison staff, as part of routine monitoring of prisoner communications between 2006 and 2012.

He told MPs:

  • an investigation into the recording of telephone calls between prisoners and their constituency MPs and lawyers will be launched
  • that calls between at least 32 current MPs and prisoners had taken place, though he was unsure of the figure for previous MPs; the most recent was between a prisoner and his constituency MP Justice Minister Simon Hughes
  • a small number of calls between prisoners and their lawyers had also "accidently" been recorded
  • he was sorry for the lapse.
Chris Grayling
BBC
Justice Minister Chris Grayling apologises on behalf of his department for the monitoring of phone calls between prisoners and their MPs and lawyers

In a packed day in the House of Commons MPs also:

  • passed the National Insurance Contributions Bill, which aims to simplify contributions paid by the self-employed and brings in new anti-avoidance mechanisms - the bill will now move to the House of Lords
  • passed a ten minute rule bill tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert to introduce a new National Defence Medal to be awarded to armed forces personnel who have served two years in the Army but who have not fought in battle
  • accepted the findings of a
    report by the Commons Finance and Services Committee on the House of Commons' financial plan for 2015/16 and beyond
  • questioned justice ministers during the daily oral questions session
  • held an adjournment debate on improving rail services to the Portsmouth Harbour area, led by Conservative MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage.

Goodbye

That brings an end to our live coverage of Tuesday in Westminster. Thanks for joining us.

Lords finishes for the day

The upper chamber adjourns for the day, marking the start of a mini-recess in the House of Lords.

Peers will be back on 17 November at the usual time of 14.30 GMT.

Wales Bill clears report stage

That brings an end to report-stage consideration of the Wales Bill, meaning the legislation will progress to third reading - its final stage in the House of Lords.

Labour withdraw amendment

Labour spokesman Baroness Morgan of Ely has withdrawn the amendments that were just being discussed by peers.

She is now making the case for a review of Welsh funding.

The opposition amendment would delay certain parts of the bill from coming into force until a Welsh Government minister has produced a report stating that the executive is satisfied with the fairness of funding arrangements from the UK Government to Wales.

Later Labour withdraw this amendment as well.

Amendment withdrawn

Following the Baroness Randerson's comments Lord Roberts withdraws his amendment.

Peers are now discussing amendments relating to symmetry in the devolution of taxes between Wales and Scotland.

Funding question

Baroness Randerson points out that electoral registration activities in Wales, as elsewhere, are funded by local authorities.

She tells peers she is "not aware" that the additional funding required has been made available to make this proposal workable, as she continues to set out her objections to the amendment.

Government response

Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson pays tribute to Lord Roberts' "energetic" campaign on the subject, which she says has helped to raise awareness of the problem.

However, she explains that the amendments being proposed are not a magic solution, and emphasises the important role of civic engagement and education alongside increased electoral registration.

She adds that electoral registration officers in Wales "already have the power" to go in to schools to promote engagement.

Labour pledge

Baroness Gale pledges Labour's support for the amendment, asserting that anything that can be done to increase participation, particularly among young people, "is to be welcomed".

She says the Labour Party's 2015 election manifesto will include a commitment on voter registration, to encourage younger people to vote.

Amendment support

There is cross-party support for Lord Roberts's amendment which aims to boost electoral registration among young people.

The opposition and government will have the opportunity to set out their position's on the proposal very shortly.

Don't be pessimistic about young voters

However, Lib Dem peer Lord Tyler - who supports the amendment - cautions peers against being "too pessimistic" about the levels of interests of young people in registration to vote.

Cross party support

The amendments have the support of Conservative peer Lord Lexden, who hopes the government will either adopt them or bring forward its own proposals.

Independent crossbencher Baroness Grey-Thompson, a co-sponsor of the amendment, also adds her voice in support.

Lady Grey-Thompson says she is concerned by the number of young people who "don't see the value" of engaging in the political process and elections.

"We need a registration revolution in the UK," she tells peers, and adds that it can, and should, start in Wales.

Increasing young voters

Over to Liberal Democrat Lord Roberts of Llandudno now, who is proposing an amendment on voter registration.

Specifically, it is designed to increase the number of young people that register to vote.

It would oblige electoral registration officers in Wales to see that "every single school and college has at least the opportunity, once a year, to register".

Liberal Democrat Lord Roberts of Llandudno
BBC

Amendment withdrawn

Representing the government, Lib Dem Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson says there is a lack of consensus on exactly how many more members there should be, with figures for the total assembly membership ranging from 80 to 120.

"Surely the size of the assembly should be decided in the light of how many additional powers the assembly will get, and exactly how significant those powers are," the minister reasons.

Lady Randerson adds that once that part of the cross-party discussions has taken place, it would then be appropriate to address the question of the size of the assembly.

The amendment is withdrawn.

'General consensus' on increase

Opposition spokesman Baroness Gale says there was a "general consensus" at the bill's committee stage for an increased membership.

She says there is also a feeling in Wales "that we do need to increase the number of members" in the assembly.

Increase the Welsh Assembly

Peers are currently discussing a proposal by independent crossbench peer Lord Elystan-Morgan and Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigely to increase the membership of the National Assembly for Wales from 60 to 80 members.

Disqualification regime

Wales Office spokesman Baroness Randerson tells peers that any changes to the assembly's disqualification regime would not likely take place before the next elections in 2016, but adds that the Welsh first minister has committed to working with the next UK government on the matter ahead of the 2021 assembly elections.

Lady Randerson thanks Lord Gresford for "shining a spotlight" on the matter - and the amendment is withdrawn.

Who can stand for the Welsh Assembly?

Peers are now discussing a proposal by Lib Dem Lord Thomas of Gresford - which has cross-party support - concerning the list of "disqualifying bodies" whose members cannot stand for election to the Welsh Assembly.

The principle behind his amendment, he explains, is that it is "unfair and unduly restrictive" that a person should be required to give up a public position or paid job to "simply stand as a candidate" in an election for the assembly.

Amendment withdrawn

Defending clause three on behalf of the government, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth says it will ensure that a Welsh Assembly member can "concentrate on representing constituents and contribute significantly to the institution".

He says there was cross party agreement on the proposals in the House of Commons, and appeals for the amendment to be withdrawn - which Lord Norton later agrees to.

Dual candidates

Explaining the reason for his amendment, Lord Norton says he objects to "restricting by law the choice of electors".

Political parties are entitled to introduce their own rules to ban dual candidature, he says, but insists it should not be prohibited in law.

"I do not regard it as our role to say who electors should or should not elect," he tells the House of Lords.

Conservative Lord Norton of Louth
BBC

Stay with us

Do stay with us as we continue to bring you live coverage of the House of Lords, where peers are examining the Wales Bill, which will grant limited tax-raising powers to the Welsh government, including the power to amend income tax rates subject to a referendum.

Constitutional expert Lord Norton of Louth, a Conservative peer, has proposed an amendment to remove clause three from the bill.

The clause in question disqualifies MPs from sitting as members of the Welsh Assembly.

Commons rises

Robert Goodwill tells MPs that improvements to rail services in the South can be made without the need for increased infrastructure. Improvements to existing services can reduce journey times and increase capacity, he adds before the House rises.

And that's it for the Commons.

The House of Commons is now on a mini-recess and will return on Monday 17 November at 14.30 GMT where the main business will be the remaining stages of the Childcare Payments Bill.

Investing in infrastructure

Robert Goodwill says that the provision of rail services in the south is "enormously important" for economic growth.

Mr Goodwill tells MPs that the government is investing in rail infrastructure in the South through schemes like the National Stations Improvement Programme, but says there are legitimate reasons that "must be borne in mind" that cause slow train service in the South, including the type of track used by the trains.

Government response

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill is given the job of responding for the government.

Changes urged

Former Liberal Democrat MP, now standing as an Independent MP for Portsmouth South, Mike Hancock, adds his support to the motion. He calls on the government to put pressure on South West trains, who operate the rail services in the area, to improve their stations and rolling stock.

"The railways are booming," Mr Hancock says "but unfortunately much of their stations and rolling stock are busted, and that just isn't good enough" for the people of the south who "pay an awful lot" to use their services.

No train station

Making her case for increased rail infrastructure in the South, Ms Dinenage says her constituency of Gosport is the largest town in the UK not to have a train station.

It takes just as long to get from London to Portsmouth as it does to get from London to Doncaster, a distance that is over twice as far, she adds.

Left behind

Caroline Dinenage warns that poorer southern areas, such as her Gosport constituency, are at risk of being left behind in discussions about rail infrastructure projects HS2 and Crossrail.

"Poverty does not respect geography," she tells MPs, pointing to the effects of post industrialisation in southern port towns like Portsmouth.

Proximity to London and its wealth is "no good" for people south of the capital if they cannot reach it, Ms Dinenange says.

End of day debate

Adjournment debates are short debates held at the end of a day's business.

Adjournment debates are frequently used to bring constituency matters to the attention of government ministers.

Adjournment debate

Tom Brake welcomes the report and accepts its findings on behalf of the government.

MPs now move to the adjournment debate, today tabled by Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage on improving rail services to the Portsmouth Harbour area.

Government response

Deputy Leader of the House Tom Brake begins the government's response to the debate. Both the Leader of the House and shadow leader of the House are giving evidence to the

governance review chaired by Jack Straw this evening.

Report stage continues

Peers are aiming to conclude report-stage scrutiny of the Wales Bill before the day is out.

There are nine groupings of amendments still to consider.

Report stage - also sometimes known as consideration stage - is the point in the legislative process when a bill as amended in committee is reviewed.

Peers can propose further amendments, and changes to committee-stage amendment.

Once a bill completes its report stage, it moves to its final stage, third reading.

Improve future running of the House

Thomas Docherty concludes his comments by thanking the committee for setting out a "spending path" beyond 2015-16 that would not restrict an incoming commission, along the lines of the popular Parliamentary Commission on Banking.

While he welcomes the savings made by the House of Commons he says it is disappointing that the House of Lords has not met similar savings.

He parts by saying it is vital that MPs and the senior management in the house have opportunities to improve their financial skills to help improve the future running of the House of Commons.

Wales Bill progress

Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson
BBC
Baroness Randerson is the minister tasked with responding to proposed amendments to the Wales Bill

Winding up

Shadow deputy leader of the House Thomas Docherty begins the wind ups in the House of Commons well ahead of schedule. The House has until 19.30 GMT for this debate, but the way things are going it seems likely we'll be on the adjournment debate by 16:30 GMT.

Commons chamber

Commons chamber
BBC
A quieter scene than last night, as MPs discuss the financial plan for the House of Commons next year

Next grouping

Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley welcomes the minister's commitments as "the right approach", but he regrets that there is "not a willingness" to look at extending the franchise to all elections to the assembly.

However, he agrees to withdraw his amendment, and the debate moves on to the next grouping of amendments, which concern the electoral arrangements for the Welsh Assembly.

Government concession

Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson says the government has recognised peers' strength of feeling on the subject.

She commits to bringing forward amendments at third reading - the next stage in the bill's passage through the Lords - to enable the Welsh Assembly to decide whether 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in the income tax referendum, "whenever it is held".

Wales is to be offered more flexible income tax-varying powers, but the powers would only be granted after a referendum.

In light of her comments, she urges peers to withdraw their amendments.

Properly funded

Calling on his experience in the hospitality sector, John Thurso concludes his remarks urging the government to properly fund the early stages of the parliamentary renovations.

He tells MPs in his experience "the more professional money spent in advance...the more effective your spend when you actually do it.

"Every pound spent now is at least a pound saved going forward," he adds.

@PTylerLords

Lord Tyler tweets: Success! @jennyranderson & @govuk will table amendments to #walesbill so @assemblywales can permit #votesat16 in tax power referendum.

Low turnout despite lower voting age

Representing the government, Lib Dem Baroness Randerson says that, personally, she has been a long-time supporter of lowering the voting age, and welcomes that so many took advantage of the opportunity offered to them in the Scottish independence referendum.

But the Wales Office minister cautions that extending the franchise is "no magic bullet", noting that in the Isle of Man, where the voting age is 16, turnout is still "very low".