Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. The Commons sat at 14.30 GMT and the first item of the day was work and pensions questions.
  2. Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Keith Vaz asked an urgent question on the death of Luke Somers and the safety of other British nationals in Yemen.
  3. The day's main business is the Infrastructure Bill at second reading.
  4. The final item of business at the end of the day was the adjournment debate: Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie discussed access to free cash withdrawals in less well-off communities.
  5. The Lords also began at 14.30 GMT when Lord Green of Deddington, the head of MirgationWatchUK, took his place as a new peer.
  6. Following that, peers took part in the oral questions session with Government ministers.
  7. Peers gave unanimous support to the Mutuals' Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill at report stage.
  8. The Consumer Rights Bill completed its passage through the house of Lords. It now enters parliamentary ping pong and will be sent back to the House of Commons.
  9. Peers gave the Modern Slavery Bill its penultimate day of committee stage scrutiny.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

And that's the end of today's business at Westminster.

Join us tomorrow from 11.30 GMT when the main business in the House of Commons will be the committee stage of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.

'Good deal'

House of Commons

Parliament

Treasury Minister Andrea Leadsom, responding for the government.

"ATM customers generally get a good deal in the UK," she says, but concedes that some machines do charge in order to make providing a service "viable".

The alternative could be a complete withdrawal of those services, she warns.

'Nothing short of a disgrace'

House of Commons

Parliament

Charlotte Leslie says that over 300 areas lack access to free cash withdrawals.

She says it is "nothing short of a disgrace" that customers are charged to access their own cash.

Charlotte Leslie
BBC

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Following the presentation of petitions, the final business today is the adjournment debate.

Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie is speaking on access to free cash withdrawals in less well-off communities.

Adjournment debates are short debates held at the end of a day's business, which an MP can use to bring constituency matters to the attention of ministers.

Bill passes second reading

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs pass the bill by 276 votes to 10 - a government majority of 266.

The bill will now be considered by a committee of MPs, who are required to complete work by 15 January 2015.

What is second reading?

House of Commons

Parliament

Second reading is an opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of a bill.

First reading is only a formality, in which the title of the bill is read out and there is no debate.

If the Commons votes against the bill at second reading the legislation can progress no further.

If the bill is passed at second reading the legislation moves on to committee stage for line-by-line scrutiny.

Labour amendment defeated

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote to reject Labour's amendment by 293 votes to 199 - a government majority of 94.

The House now divides to vote on the second reading of the bill.

Lords amendments

House of Commons

Parliament

The Infrastructure Bill began in the House of Lords and had its third reading last month.

The only amendments approved by peers were those introduced by the government.

The amendments approved by the House of Lords included concessions to protect the public forests estate.

The bill would have made it legal for the government to hand any public land to the Homes and Communities Agency.

About 150,000 people signed a petition calling on ministers to rule out this move in the bill and were successful.

Vote on amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are voting on a Labour amendment which would deny a second reading to the Infrastructure Bill and stop its journey through the Commons, effectively killing the bill.

Call to reject Labour amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

Minister Stephen Williams describes the infrastructure Bill as "the greatest strategic revamp of infrastructure since Victorian times".

He urges MPs to reject Labour's amendment.

Stephen Williams
BBC

Goodnight from the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

And that brings business in the House of Lords to an end.

Peers will be back at the same time tomorrow to consider Commons' amendments to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.

This is rather a big moment as the Lords have defeated the government four times - three times on judicial review and once on secure colleges - only for MPs to overturn those changes.

Peers will now have to decide whether they accept the Commons amendments in lieu of their own.

Things are building to a climax in the House of Commons though as MPs come to the end of their debate on the second reading of the Infrastructure Bill, so stay with us.

More measures in the bill

House of Commons

Parliament

The Infrastructure Bill contains measures affecting the natural and the built environment.

The bill would allow members of communities the right to buy stakes in local renewable electricity generation facilities.

It introduces Species Control Orders to control invasive, non-native species that pose environmental threats.

And construction firms will be able to offset the carbon emissions of new homes after they have been built.

Amendments withdrawn

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Lord Bates responds to the debate for the government. He tells peers that he holds the view, expressed by many peers, that those who "have suffered most should be considered most".

Making psychological assessments of trafficking victims could lead to victims being forced into processes they do not want to, or are too fragile to, take part in.

Turning to the Lord McColl's amendment, Lord Bates says current provisions under the bill mean that support can be provided for longer than the minimum 45 days, but does not become intrusive to victims.

Peers seem suitably reassured and withdraw their amendments.

'No intention' to privatise

House of Commons

Parliament

Communities and Local Government Minister Stephen Williams is summing up on the Infrastructure Bill for the government.

The bill would enable the Highways Agency to be turned from an executive agency into a government-owned company.

Mr Williams insists that "there is no intention" to privatise the company.

Pressed by Labour MP Helen Jones to give a "cast-iron guarantee", he says he can give one for the remainder of the current Parliament.

Call to back Labour amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

Roberta Blackman-Woods says Labour would "promote growth" and "encourage development" and calls on MPs to back the opposition amendment which calls for a commission to set out infrastructure priorities.

'Unwanted' reorganisation

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Roberta Blackman-Woods says infrastructure investment has "slumped" in recent years and the government's Infrastructure Bill will not make up for that.

She also expresses "complete bewilderment as to why a top-down reorganisation of the Highways Agency is being proposed".

She links the plan to the government's reorganisation of the NHS in England through the Health and Social Care Act.

"I would have thought that ministers opposite would have learned their lessons with regard to unwanted and unnecessary reorganisations," she says.

'Not victim-focused'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord McColl of Dulwich says the Modern Slavery Bill as it currently stands is "not victim-focused".

He tables an amendment to set out explicit "core principals" for identifying and supporting victims, rather than the "guidance" for public bodies contained in the bill as it stands.

Under the amendment, assistance would not be "conditional on the willingness of the person to act as a witness, in any criminal proceedings; shall take due regard of the victim's need for safety and protection, including the opportunity to receive assistance from a person of the same gender and shall be provided to assist victims in their physical, psychological and social recovery".

Under the amendment victims would be entitled to at least 90 days of support, rather than 45 days under the current bill.

Summing up for Labour

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow communities minister Roberta Blackman-Woods is closing the second reading debate for the opposition.

Labour have responded to the bill by calling for more to be done to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment.

Responding to the alterations of planning law in the Infrastructure Bill, Labour have highlighted a shortage of construction skills.

Ms Blackman-Woods also argues that measures to combat climate change should not be diluted.

Not won over to fracking

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Eric Ollerenshaw says he is concerned that a scheme for payments to residents close to fracking sites "is not defined" and the Infrastructure Bill does not appear to require ministers to put one in place.

"I do not honestly believe that putting these kinds of clauses in this complicated bill will in any way win anybody over in my part of Lancashire," he argues, declaring that he cannot support that part of the bill.

Minister John Hayes offers to meet him to discuss his concerns, though Mr Ollerenshaw adds that he is "still not convinced".

Privatisation claim

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP John McDonnell says the proposed Strategic Highways Company is in fact a plan for privatisation.

He foresees "the road network being sold off" and users having to pay tolls.

Transport Minister John Hayes says Mr McDonnell is "fantasising".

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now turn to an amendment in the name of Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee, that would require all children suspected of being a victim of slavery or trafficking to be assessed psychologically during the investigation of the offence.

The victims of slavery can be very damaged and very vulnerable, she tells peers.

But even where this isn't the case a mandatory assessment would "help immensely", she adds, as trafficking and slavery victims are "so very unlike any others" and create so many complexities in legal proceedings.

'Zero carbon homes'

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat Sir Andrew Stunell says the Infrastructure Bill has "failed to be as ambitious as it could be" in moving towards "zero carbon homes".

The former communities and local government minister successfully got his private members' bill on sustainable buildings through Parliament in 2004.

Peer reassured

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Patel withdraws his amendment after receiving assurances from Home Office Minister Lord Bates that all child victims of trafficking and slavery will be suitably protected under the Modern Slavery Bill's current child advocacy scheme.

Labour support for children's advocates

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's leader in the Lords, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, backs an amendment to give the new specialist child trafficking advocates legal powers to compel local councils to provide services a child requires, act for the child in a legal capacity and instruct solicitors on the child's behalf.

"I would urge the government to support this amendment, or something similar, to ensure advocates have legal powers and trafficked children are entitled to the support and protection they deserve," she says.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
BBC

'Radical amendment'

House of Commons

Parliament

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas argues that "without some fairly radical amendment, above all to take account of climate change", the Infrastructure Bill will fail to improve planning and infrastructure management.

"This business-as-usual bill will lock the UK into high carbon, inefficient, polluting transport systems," she claims.

She also accuses ministers of "simply not listening" to public concerns over fracking.

Caroline Lucas
BBC

Children's advocates

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are debating a probing amendment tabled by Crossbench peer Lord Patel to provide all children separated from their parents with advocates to support them and represent them in legal proceedings.

Under the Modern Slavery Bill a new children's advocate system will be established including the creation of specialist child trafficking advocates, but Lord Patel's amendment would widen the scope of the advocate scheme.

So called "probing amendments" are normally used to get the minister to clarify provisions of a bill and outline the thinking behind them and are rarely pushed to a vote.

Despite this Lord Patel, the former President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says providing all "separated children" with legal advocates is "the only way to ensure all trafficked children" are provided with the support and help they need.

Backing for fracking

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Peter Lilley, a member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, gives his support for fracking.

"Shale gas represents a tremendous opportunity," he says.

"Either we'll reduce the energy bills of households or we'll reduce the tax bills of households," he adds.

Peter Lilley
BBC

Devolution call

House of Commons

Parliament

SNP MP Mike Weir criticises the Infrastructure Bill's measures on onshore oil and gas extraction, arguing that the Smith Commission has recommended powers over licensing and mineral access rights be devolved.

The commission, set up after Scotland's referendum to agree new powers for the Scottish Parliament, proposed devolution of rights over onshore oil and gas, such as shale gas.

"It would be much simpler if all the powers over fracking were in one place," Mr Weir argues.

The SNP, along with Plaid Cymru MPs, had tabled an amendment accusing the bill of impinging on devolved matters, but it was not selected for debate today by the Speaker.

'More control' for local people

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP John Mann, speaking in the second reading debate on the Infrastructure Bill, says he will back amendments to the bill "to give local people more control over the planning system when it comes to housing".

He also argues that local people should have a say over whether fracking takes place in their area.

John Mann
BBC

Children forced into crime

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Baroness Garden of Frognal is moving a series of government amendments that would create a statutory defence protecting child victims of slavery or trafficking who commit crimes as a direct result of their situation from being prosecuted.

Despite current safeguards Baroness Garden tells peers that there is evidence victims forced into crime are still being prosecuted.

It's vital that "genuine victims trapped by their circumstances can feel confident to come forward without the threat of being prosecuted" Baroness Garden says.

Amendment withdrawn

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bates says Lord Warner's amendment risks jeopardising the "constructive and collaborative" relationship between the Home Office and the new commissioner, although he adds that the government remains open to considering all of Lord Warner's comments.

Lord Warner agrees to withdraw the amendment, but advises the government to look again at giving the anti-slavery commissioner more "room to manoeuvre" with the Home Office.

Right to report

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating a series of amendments tabled by Lord Warner designed to give the anti-slavery commissioner greater freedom from the Home Office and prevent it from delaying reports that are critical of the government.

Lord Warner argues that as things stand, there are plenty of examples of "reports of other independent sources ... languish[ing] in government department in-trays".

Amendments on the horizon

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bates indicates that the government will consider the peers' suggestions and may incorporate some aspects in a future draft of the bill - hinting especially strongly that crossbench peer Baroness Cox's amendment, requiring the anti-slavery commissioner to promote "best practice" in ending slavery across the world, might make it into the bill.

Following these assurances form Lord Bates, Lord Warner withdraws his amendment.

However, he warns the government that "the mood is very clear" in the House of Lords that the remit of the anti-slavery commissioner needs to be widened, and the "shackles of the Home Office need to be loosened", hinting that further amendments may be tabled at a later date.

Noble effort

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Lord Bates is now beginning his herculean task of responding to the debate for the government. A total of 27 amendments have been tabled by peers aiming to widen the role of the anti-slavery commissioner in some way.

Shale gas role

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Charles Hendry says there is "a continuing role for gas in our energy mix".

Shale gas could make up for "peaks and troughs" in renewable energy generation and would help ensure "security of supply".

He adds: "Because new gas will be replacing dirty old coal, it also helps us in terms of reducing our carbon emissions."

But he cautions that gas storage capacity needs to be increased in case shale gas extraction in the UK turns out not to be economically viable.

Co-operation called for

House of Lords

Parliament

Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales, and Conservative peer, Baroness Newlove says her role will necessarily have some overlap with the work of anti-slavery commissioner, and calls for the government to mandate for co-operation between the two jobs.

It is unclear though if her comments are meant as an endorsement of Labour's amendment tabled by Baroness Royall earlier. She tells peers she "doesn't care how" it happens as long as it happens.

All new measures need to be built around the needs of victims of slavery and human trafficking, she adds.

Victim's Commissioner Baroness Newlove
BBC
Victim's Commissioner Baroness Newlove tells peers she is keen to begin working with the anti-slavery commissioner

People 'concerned' about fracking

House of Commons

Parliament

Helen Jones, Labour MP for Warrington North, says her constituents are "very concerned that there are not adequate safeguards" in the bill over fracking.

She wonders if ministers are "not really serious" about regulation of the industry.

Shadow transport minister Richard Burden says Labour will press for more regulation.

Helen Jones
BBC

@neil_mp

Conservative MP Neil Carmichael ‏tweets: Infrastructure Bill brings "Community Energy Right" for shared ownership of new onshore renewables if voluntary approach doesn't work.

Commissioner post

House of Lords

Parliament

Under the bill, a new post of anti-slavery commissioner will be created to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.

In November 2013 the government announced the role will be filled by the former head of the Metropolitan Police's world renowned Human Trafficking Unit, Kevin Hyland.

Mr Hyland will act as designate commissioner until the bill achieves Royal Assent.