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Summary

  1. MPs sat from 11.30 GMT and the day began with questions to the ministerial team at the Northern Ireland Office.
  2. At noon, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stood in for David Cameron at prime minister's questions.
  3. There was an urgent question from Yvette Cooper on the resettlement of vulnerable Syrian refugees.
  4. Then there was a statement by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan on preparing young people for the world of work: Tristram Hunt replied for Labour.
  5. MPs then turned their attention to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill at second reading. After that, MPs considered Lords amendments to the Wales Bill.
  6. Peers began their day with oral question to government ministers
  7. Peers debated both statements made in the House of Commons as government ministers repeated them in the House of Lords.
  8. The Modern Slavery Bill completed its committee stage in the House of Lords.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bates promises post legislative scrutiny of the bill will take place, but the government believe the normal process of scrutiny being carried out by parliamentary committees is preferable to "ad hoc and potentially inconsistent specific statutory requirements in individual bills."

Given Lord Bates assurance's that post legislative scrutiny will take place, Lord Alton withdraws his amendment.

Which brings business in the House of Lords to a close. Peers will be back tomorrow from 11.00 GMT where the main business will be two balloted debates: firstly, on the case for enabling economic leadership for cities; and secondly, on the case for new global development goals in 2015.

Debate cancelled

House of Lords

Parliament

It's just been announced that this evening's short debate on the report of the Communications Committee on media plurality led by the Committee chair, Lord Inglewood, will be suspended until a later date. So things will be concluding after this amendment.

'Motherhood and apple pie'

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers turn to their final amendment of the evening, which would require the Home Secretary to provide a report on the bill's implementation within five years after it becomes law.

Tabling the amendment Lord Alton says post legislative reviews of legislation, like this, are like "motherhood and apple pie, in that everyone appears to be in favour of it, but unlike motherhood and apple pie, it's not much in evidence".

This amendment would ensure "vital" post legislative scrutiny took place he says.

'Long term strategy'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bates says Lord Alton's objective is part of the government's "long term strategy" but warns there are many stages to go through first.

He agrees to meet with the peers who supported Lord Alton's amendment between now and report stage to discuss the issue further, and Lord Alton agrees to withdraw the amendment.

Public reports needed

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Alton of Liverpool tables an amendment which would force big businesses to publicise statements on the action they have taken to ensure their supply chains are slavery free, that the Modern Slavery Bill would require them to produce.

He says in the bill as its currently drafted, neither "the content of what is reported, nor the location of the report" are likely to produce the "meaningful, accessible and comparable information that's so essential to take a proper view of what companies are doing to tackle slavery in their supply chain."

Amendment withdrawn

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow home office minister Lord Rosser says that current requirements on companies included in the bill do not "go far enough" but withdraws his amendment.

Government response

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bates
BBC
Home Office Minister Lord Bates is now responding to the debate for the government .

Slavery in the supply chain

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating a series of amendments aimed at tackling slavery in supply chains by improving transparency - requiring companies selling products or services in the UK to demonstrate that they have been seeking to ensure slave labour has not been involved in their supply process.

'Overwhelming' risk

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding to the debate, Baroness Garden of Frognal says that the GLA is already equipped to tackle slavery. She tells peers that while it is natural to want to extend the body's remit quickly, rushed measures could undermine the body's "good work".

The GLA is a small body that "performs a targeted role in an effective way" she says, which plays a role in the broader tackling of slavery.

She argues that sweeping changes run the risk of overwhelming the organisation.

Baroness Butler-Sloss withdraws her amendment, which, she says, she knew the government wouldn't accept, but says she hopes the government will think about the issues raised during the debate.

More on the GLA

House of Lords

Parliament

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) is the regulating body for workers in the shell fish, agriculture, food, and food packaging labour markets.

The GLA was established after the result of the

2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster to prevent the exploitation of workers in the food production sector.

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating a series of amendments aimed at extending the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to fight slavery.

Tabling an amendment to allow the government the option to look into extending the authority's powers, former high court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss says thereare huge concerns over the use of slave labour in the construction industry and hospitality industry.

Scale 'underestimated'

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Cox says that ministers "totally underestimate" the scale of the problem and the vulnerability of the workers.

She says the government is not offering "very reassuring alternatives" to her amendment but she agrees to withdraw it, suggesting she may table a similar amendment at a later date if changes to the bill are not made.

Protection for overseas workers

House of Lords

Parliament

Government spokeswoman Baroness Garden of Frognal says current visa regulations already provide protection to overseas workers living in slavery.

If overseas workers leaving their employment to seek police or government assistance, "that is not considered an abuse of their visa", she tells peers. Such workers would be treated as victims and given appropriate support.

Those bringing overseas workers in to the country must prove to immigration officials they have had a pre-existing working relationship and provide evidence that workers have agreed to the terms of their employment - a system which also allows officials to check for a bonded labour relationship.

Meanwhile, those trafficked into the UK are protected under trafficking legislation, the National Referral Mechanism and provisions in this bill, she says.

Goodnight from MPs

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs have raced through a packed agenda to reach an early end to business in the Commons.

Join us tomorrow from 9.30 GMT for debates on the fishing industry, and Ukraine and UK relations with Russia.

And Labour MP Ben Bradshaw has an adjournment debate on NHS services in Devon, which follows the announcement that smokers and the morbidly obese could be denied routine surgery unless they quit smoking or lose weight.

It follows his question on the subject

during PMQs today.

We still have plenty more debate left in the House of Lords though, so stay with us as peers scrutinise the Modern Slavery Bill at committee stage.

'One hand tied behind their back'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Baroness Hanham says that overseas workers are becoming "hidden victims" of slavery and the current visa system is forcing them to fight "with one hand tied behind their back".

Many of the victims are from foreign countries, with little grasp of the English langue and so can't access protections currently offered to them, she says.

"People don't know they're there, they can't get out, they can't get attention and they are abused.

"We can't really just ignore it," she adds.

Recruitment

House of Commons

Parliament

Justice Minister Andrew Selous, responding to the debate on stress among prison officers, says the National Offender Management Service is "on target" to recruit further officers to help reduce pressures on existing staff.

Visa regulations

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are debating an amendment to reintroduce the UK's pre-2012 visa regulations to protect overseas domestic workers from slavery, including the right to change employers. Many overseas workers are tied to one employer by their visa.

Baroness Cox, the founder of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, tells peers that the bill as it stands "unintentionally strengthened the hand of the slave master against the victim of slavery" which completely undermines the intentions of the bill.

She describes the current situation, in which overseas worker are tied to a single employee, as "bonded labour". Without the freedom to resign, workers cannot "challenge or question anything their employers choose to do to them", she says.

Baroness Cox
BBC

Prison overcrowding

House of Commons

Parliament

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd raises the subject of overcrowding in prisons.

The risk of violence increases with overcrowding, he argues, which means a greater risk for prison officers.

Slavery cases referred

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers agree to a series of government amendments to require suspected slavery cases to be referred to the home secretary, who can pass them to a specialist unit for investigating potential cases of slavery, rather than the National Crime Agency.

Work-related stress

House of Commons

Parliament

A survey by the Prison Officers Association on work-related stress and wellbeing was published in November.

The key findings of the survey revealed 84% of respondents felt under pressure to come into work when they felt unwell.

According to the survey, none of the Health and Safety Executive's standards for work-related stress have been met.

The report revealed that work-related stress and "failure to cope" is very stigmatised in the sector and is unsupported.

Amendment withdrawn

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Lord Bates warns that any process to put something on a statutory footing can make it inflexible and "unresponsive to changing demands" due to the requirement for further legislation to make changes.

Quoting the findings of the review of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) led by senior civil servant Jeremy Oppenheim, which has been quoted by several peers in the debate, Lord Bates says that "putting the NRM on a statuary framework will not change the UK's commitment and obligations".

The most important thing is to make sure "victims are spotted and protected in the first place, and we can only help victims quickly and effectively" he says.

Lord Rosser withdraws his amendment on the understanding that there should be further discussions on finding the right balance between "flexibility" and giving the NRM greater weight.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs agree to the Lords amendments which would allow the Welsh Assembly to let 16 and 17-year-olds vote in an income tax referendum.

And that ends the debate on the Wales Bill and MPs move swiftly on to the adjournment debate.

Labour MP John McDonnell is leading a debate on work-related stress and prison officers.

Great concern

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord James of Blackheath says the amendment "greatly causes him concern", and says referral networks aren't enough.

Instead "every child put into a migration situation" needs to be given legal status in the UK and "forced transportation" needs to be outlawed, he says.

Turnout worries

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Geraint Davies says he is broadly a supporter of votes at 16, but is concerned that introducing them via a "very technical" referendum on income tax powers could lead to an "extremely low" turnout of young people.

Greater understanding

House of Lords

Parliament

The Labour amendment would put the National Referral Mechanism on a statutory footing rather than its current "non-mandatory" basis.

Shadow home office minster Lord Rosser says the current scheme is not well known, and so is not being used enough. Placing it into primary legislation will give "greater transparency", create greater awareness of the scheme and would "provide an opportunity to establish a clear review and appeal process", he says.

Lord Rosser
BBC
Lord Rosser tells peers that the NRM is not as well known or used as it should be in its "non mandatory" form.

'Supporter'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Wales minister Nia Griffith tells MPs she has "long been a supporter of votes at 16".

National Referral Mechanism

House of Lords

Parliament

ECPAT - a global network of organisations aimed at eliminating child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children - has produced a

handy guide on how the human trafficking National Referral Mechanism works.

'No consensus' on voting age

House of Commons

Parliament

Alun Cairns says the government backs a voting age of 16 in a Welsh referendum but argues there is "no consensus" on a lower voting age for elections.

Alun Cairns
BBC

Voting age

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are now considering allowing the Welsh Assembly to let 16-year-olds to vote in an income tax referendum.

Minister Alun Cairns pays tribute to the political engagement of 16 and 17-year-olds in the Scottish independence referendum.

Labour MP Chris Ruane says too few young people are registered to vote and urges ministers to work to raise the numbers.

The minimum voting age for local and general elections is 18, but voters aged 16 and 17 were allowed to take part in Scotland's referendum.

Main business

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now turn to the main business in the House of Lords today: the committee stage of the Modern Slavery Bill.

First: a Labour tabled amendment to put the framework for identifying and assisting victims of slavery and human trafficking- known as a National Referral Mechanism - on a statutory footing.

Amendments approved

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs agree Lords amendments which would allow the Welsh Assembly to set separate Welsh income tax rates.

Supply and demand

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Ramsbotham asks whether a census will be made of "skills needs and skills shortages" in the working world, which can be referred to by teachers and careers advisors.

Lord Nash says he will pass this idea on to the new company.

Trade union involvement

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Baroness Turner of Camden asks what role trade unions can have in the provision of careers advice. Trade unions can be very important in "encouraging children who would otherwise miss out on education earlier in their careers" she says.

Lord Nash says the involvement of trade unions is extremely important and will be considered.

'Westminster establishment'

House of Commons

Parliament

Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards tells MPs that his party "will not allow our country to be treated as a second class nation by the Westminster establishment".

Careers body

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding to the statement, shadow education minister Baroness Jones of Whitchurch welcomes the announcement of a new careers body but asks "what took you so long?", claiming careers services deteriorated under the watch of this government.

The provision of careers advice is "only one part of the challenges exist" in the sector she says, claiming children are "crying out for one-to-one careers advice".

The new plan has "all the hallmarks of a policy scrambled together to plug a hole", she says,

Income tax devolution

House of Commons

Parliament

In the debate on the Wales Bill, Conservative MP Glyn Davies accuses Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones of trying to find reasons not to have a referendum on devolving income tax.

"Welsh Labour in Cardiff are desperate to avoid financial accountability," he claims.

Mr Davies says he has accepted that the bill will allow for a referendum but thinks one is not necessary.

The issue could be decided at a general election, he believes.

Education statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Education Minister Lord Nash is now repeating a statement made by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan earlier in the House of Commons on preparing young people for the world of work.

Important government statements made in the House of Commons will sometimes be repeated in the Lords at an appropriate time to fit in with the main business.

Once the statement has been repeated, peers have an opportunity to quiz a government minister on the content of the statement, as in the House of Commons.

Position shifted?

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Falkner of Margravine accuses the government of shifting its position and suggesting that Lord Ashton had ruled out any conversations with parts of the Assad regime to allow them to continue to rule, even in a transitional government.

Lord Ashton says he will not give out Foreign Office policy today, but will write to Baroness Falkner.

Migration figures

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding to Lord Rosser's comments, government spokesman Lord Ashton says he doesn't accept the current Vulnerable Person refugee scheme - which has taken in 90 people - "isn't working".

The programme is on track to deal with "several hundred victims over three years", which is in addition to 3,400 people taken in under normal asylum rules.

The government will not change the net migration calculation as it is currently based on a UN definition of migration, and accounts for those figures in a way all countries internationally recognise.

Syrian refugees

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding to the statement Shadow Home Office Minister Lord Rosser tells peers that Labour thinks refugees should be taken out of the government's immigration target as it is clouding their consciences over helping vulnerable people.

Lord Rosser tells peers the Syrian refugee crisis is the worst since World War II, calls on the government to increase the numbers being allowed into the country, and sign up to the United Nations programme to give asylum to the most vulnerable Syrian refugees.

According to the Press Association, the government has only accepted 90 refugees, the government must "do more", he says.