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Summary

  1. MPs heard an urgent question regarding the the franchise competition for the East Coast Mainline.
  2. Scotland Secretary Alistair Carmichael made a statement on the Smith Commission.
  3. There was also a statement on Afghanistan and Leader of the House William Hague announced forthcoming business in the Business Statement.
  4. Backbench business debates were on inequality and the progress of the historic child sex abuse inquiry.
  5. The House of Lords heard statements on the Smith Commission and East Coast Mainline, after oral questions.
  6. Debates in the Lords were on the role of religion and belief in British public life; the impact of the National Lottery and the case for arts education in schools.

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Goodbye

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers unanimously approve the order, which is due to come into effect on 28 November.

And that brings business in the House of Lords to an end. Peers will return at 14.30 GMT on Monday 1 December, when the main business will be Modern Slavery Bill.

Do join us tomorrow, however, as MPs consider private members' bills, put forward by backbenchers, from 9.30 GMT.

Labour response

House of Lords

Parliament

Representing the opposition, the shadow Home Office minister Lord Rosser says there is a long tradition of cross-party co-operation on issues of national security - and pledges Labour's support for the motion.

However he queries why a proscription order has only been brought now given that Libyan Ansar Al-Sharia were implicated in the murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens two years ago.

Lord Rosser uses this speech to criticise the fact that "very few" successful prosecutions under the 2000 Terrorism Act (Proscribed Organisations).

'Concerned with terrorism'

House of Lords

Parliament

Government Minster Lord Ashton of Hyde says the three groups operate in Libya, Egypt and Syria and are judged to be "concerned in terrorism".

If passed, the motion would add these groups to the government's list of proscribed international terror organisations under UK law, and would make being a member or supporting the groups a criminal offence.

Government Minster Lord Ashton of Hyde
BBC
Lord Ashton of Hyde sets out the government's case.

Terrorist group motion

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now turn their attention to the last item on today's agenda, a motion to outlaw alleged terrorist groups Ansar al-Sharia-Benghazi, Ajnad Misr and Jaysh al Khalifatu Islamiya.

Arts 'commitment'

House of Lords

Parliament

Education Minister Lord Nash tells peers that in his opinion the government's "package of programmes" demonstrates the government's commitment to arts education.

Peers agree to the motion which states that "this House takes note of the case for arts education in schools" without a division.

'Socially immobile' country

House of Lords

Parliament

Education Minister Lord Nash says the UK is the "most socially immobile country in the developed world" and the government is focussed on "improving the chances of disadvantaged children" and arresting the decline in "cultural education" that he alleges took place under the previous Labour administration.

The Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is a "great believer in building character", which requires an education "rich in the arts", he tells peers.

Labour response

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow education minster Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, who has been given the job of responding to the debate for Labour, gives her party's support to the conclusions of peers who have joined in the debate so far.

Turning her focus onto the opposition's front bench, she tells peers that "ultimately the government will be judged by its overall support for the arts".

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch,
BBC

Full STEAM ahead

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Aberdare tells peers that STEM subjects are "vitally important, not least in developing skills needed for employment", but they are not an alternative to arts and humanities.

What we need from our education system is "rounded individuals" he says, and an arts education encourages skills including creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship needed for the modern jobs market.

The focus should not be on STEM subjects - the acronym used to represent Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - but on "STEAM", i.e including Arts subjects, he says.

End of Commons business

House of Commons

Parliament

After some closing remarks from John Hayes, the House of Commons adjourns for the day.

MPs return at 09.30 GMT tomorrow to consider private members' bills put forward by backbench MPs.

Stay with us though as peers debate as peers debate the role of arts education in schools.

Expanding horizons

House of Lords

Parliament

Former Labour Cabinet Minister Lord Smith of Finsbury says education is all about drawing young students to their fullest potential, and that "has to include engagement in the arts culture and creativity", he adds.

Education is about "expanding horizons, exploring new ways of seeing and understanding the world, understanding humanity and emotion and what makes us the people we are", and it is these properties that art teaches us, he tells peers.

Government response

House of Commons

Parliament

Transport Minister John Hayes is providing the government's response to this debate

Transport Minister John Hayes
BBC
Transport Minister John Hayes is providing the government's response to this debate

Stimulating arts education

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Maclennan of Rogart, regaling the Lords with tales of his school amateur dramatics - "I was largely given female parts", he tells them - says he wants other children to have the same "privileged" education in the arts that he had.

The government needs to do more to "stimulate arts education" he adds.

Arts education doesn't restrict people to an arts career, he tells peers, as skills learned by children are transferrable.

He uses his own career as an example, telling the House that he considered pursuing life as an artist but chose to be an international lawyer instead.

West Anglia Rail Line

House of Commons

Parliament

The West Anglia Rail Line runs from London's Liverpool Street station to Cambridge, and provides a link to Stansted Airport.

Publicly-owned Transport for London runs some of the services on the West Anglia line.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Alan Haselhurst
BBC
Sir Alan has long called for investment in the West Anglia Rail Line

Children's creativity

House of Lords

Parliament

Making her maiden speech, Director of the New Schools Network, and Conservative peer, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park tells peers that music and arts education has been shown to develop the "confidence and resilience", communication skills and the "ability to think creatively" children need to compete in global economy.

As such, a music and arts-based education should be available "regardless of background" and tells peers her organisation is working to set up a number of "music and arts education" state schools.

It is also "imperative that Britain's education system prepares young people with the skills and knowledge to take advantage of the opportunities in the dynamic [music and arts] sector", she adds.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
BBC

Final item

House of Commons

Parliament

We're moving on to the final item on today's agenda: the adjournment debate, which is by Conservative MP Sir Alan Haselhurst on West Anglia Rail Line.

Process for new chair continuing

House of Commons

Parliament

Karen Bradley informs MPs the home secretary has had a number of meetings with survivors and their representatives, and that the discussions are helping to form the process for appointing a new inquiry chair.

However, she is not in a position to give more details on the outcomes of the discussions, which are ongoing.

Ms Bradley also confirms that whoever is chosen as the new head of the inquiry will be subject to a pre-confirmation hearing by the Home Affairs Committee.

Debate ending

House of Commons

Parliament

Karen Bradley, a minister at the Home Office, is tasked with wrapping up this debate in the Commons.

She emphasises that child sex abuse is a "live" issue and not something confined to the past.

'Magic' of music

House of Lords

Parliament

Composer Lord Berkeley of Knighton reminds peers not to forget about modern art. "It's not just in Shakespeare that we find out about ourselves and about the society we live in," he tells peers.

Lord Berklely says he has seen the "magical" effect music and the arts can have on young minds. Music in particular can get through to students where other subjects can't, he says.

To secure the income from creative industries for the economy the government need to fund reaching out "young minds, young fingers, young still developing muscle" he says.

Access to arts

House of Lords

Parliament

The Earl of Clancarty fires some quick stats at peers.

Since 2003 students taking art GCSE has fallen 28%, art and design GCSE has fallen by 13%, music by 10% and drama by 23%. A "hierarchy of subjects" is having an effect of the choices of exams and the take up of courses by schools, he says.

Improving art literacy makes for a "healthy education system and a healthy job market", but there is a real danger that the arts "will become a province only of the rich" the Earl of Clancarty warns.

The government must improve funding for arts in schools and reform "piecemeal" policy and performance measures to ensure universal access to arts, he says.

Earl of Clancarty
BBC

Summing up

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Home Office Minister Diana Johnson is on her feet to sum up the debate on behalf of Labour.

She pays tributes to victims of sexual abuse who have shown "enormous courage" in coming forward.

She adds that the inquiry must ensure survivors' voices are heard, as she stresses the importance of victims having confidence in the panel.

Shadow Home Office Minister Diana Johnson
BBC

Debate on arts education

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now turn to the last of today's debates on the case for arts education in schools, led by artist-cum-peer of the realm Earl of Clancarty.

Government response

House of Lords

Parliament

Culture Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble responds to the debate for the government.

The National Lottery has been "an extraordinary success" that has transformed "thousands and thousands" of people's lives over the last 20 years, whilst managing to be one of the most cost-effective lotteries anywhere in the world, he tells peers.

National Lottery ticket sales are on track to be the "second highest" figures ever, he says as he tells peers that "the government will be working of the continued success of the Nationally Lottery".

Bringing his remarks to his close he praises the work of former Prime Minister Sir John Major in passing the

1993 National Lottery Act. "Sir John's legacy [The National Lottery] extended to every part of this country, and is a force for good. And I cannot think of a better legacy for a prime minister" he says.

Why are abuse inquiries in the news?

House of Commons

Parliament

What sparked the inquiries and what happens next? Find out why the historical child abuse inquiries are

in the news.

Historical abuse inquiry

House of Commons

Parliament

There are a number of ongoing investigations and inquiries into historical abuse allegations in institutions around the UK. Find out more about them

here.

Need to 'get going'

House of Commons

Parliament

Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Working and Shoreham, says the inquiry could have been handled better and that victims should have been consulted earlier.

"But we are where we are and we need to move forward and get this inquiry going," he tells MPs.

On the appointment of a new chairman, Mr Loughton suggests it may need to be a judge - or judges.

National Lottery 'underpins culture'

House of Lords

Parliament

Opening the debate Baroness Rawlings says that funding of heritage, sporting and charitable projects by the National Lottery fund underpins the UK's culture "which many of us draw our identify from".

The contribution of the lottery to the UK's society, at a time when many people seek to highlight "what separates us", is something we should "as a country, be extremely proud [of]" and ensure that it continues for "many decades to come".

Lottery debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are moving on to the next item on today's agenda, which is a short topical debate on the 20th anniversary of the National Lottery, led by Conservative peer Baroness Rawlings.

Abuse 'not a thing of the past'

House of Commons

Parliament

Simon Danczuk says child sex abuse is "not a thing of the past" but is prevalent "now", pointing to the Rotherham child sex abuse

scandal.

A report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, found that at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

'Deadline democracy'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Cormack says there is a danger in "deadline democracy". No aspect of public or personal life is made better by "panic", he says.

Lord Wallace says many of the conclusions of the Smith Commission were based on work that had already been done by many parties over a long period of time. He tells peers the government will consider allowing the House of Lords to debate draft legislation based on the commission's findings before they are published on 25 January.

Inquiry background

House of Commons

Parliament

The government has launched an independent inquiry into how public bodies dealt with of of child sex abuse claims.

It suffered a setback after its chair, Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, quit amid questions about her independence.

Corporate lawyer Fiona Woolf was chosen to replace Lady Butler-Sloss, but she also had to quit.

The government is now looking for a third head for the inquiry, which is continuing its work while a new chairman is sought.

Breaking eggs?

House of Lords

Parliament

Former Scottish First Minister Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale says the content of Smith Commission report will prove that "allowing only 11 weeks to make decisions of this nature is not necessarily the best strategy".

The committee might live to regret putting "all its eggs in the income tax basket" and not looking at a spread of taxes, he says.

English 'democratic deficit'

House of Lords

Parliament

Scottish Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock calls for the Smith recommendations to also spur moves to tackle the "English democratic deficit". As Scottish devolution progresses it will be "understandable if resentment builds", he says.

If the cross party Smith commission can respond so quickly, why can't the parties get the "constitutional convention up and running" to look at the situation in the whole of the united kingdom in a "comprehensive and holistic way."

Lord Wallace says the government will support "proposals for this development."

Smith recommendations

House of Lords

Parliament

The Smith recommendations will be implemented "without hesitation" and will stick to a timetable announced by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichaell, Lord Wallace says.

Closer working between government and between parties will be encouraged in all future session he says.

Historical sex abuse debate

House of Commons

Parliament

It's time for the second of this afternoon's backbench debates, on the inquiry into historical child sex abuse.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, is opening the debate.

More detail sought

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Scotland spokesman Lord McAvoy asks Lord Wallace for greater detail on the practicalities.

He asks what the timetable for implementation will be and how the House of Lords might be involved in forming the draft legislation.

He asks how the parties involved in the Smith Commission and the Scottish Parliament will be involved in the future process, given the success of cross-party discussions so far.

'Home rule all round'

House of Lords

Parliament

After running through the

conclusions of the Smith Commission, Lord Wallace tells peers that "this is an historic moment for Scotland".

Draught legislation on the recommendations will be brought forward by the Scottish Holiday of Burn's Night on 25 January 2015.

"Having a more powerful Scottish parliament inside a strong United Kingdom will open the door to more constitutional change in the United Kingdom," he tells peers

He says Scottish home rule in Scotland can "open the door" to constitutional reform throughout the rest of the UK.

Concluding his comments he says "we can achieve home rule all round".

Amendment withdrawn

House of Commons

Parliament

Jo Swinson brings her remarks to a close, and Labour's Michael Meacher agrees to withdraw his amendment.

Government response

House of Commons

Parliament

We're on to the closing speeches of this debate now. Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Jo Swinson is speaking on behalf of the government.

Smith Commission statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Wallace of Tankerness
BBC
Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, is repeating a statement on the Smith Commission's findings made in the House of Commons for the benefit of peers