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Summary

  1. MPs met at 14.30 GMT for defence questions; followed by an urgent question at 15.30 GMT on the situation in Nigeria.
  2. The day's main business kicked off with consideration at committee, report stage and third reading of the Stamp Duty Land Tax Bill.
  3. MPs then considered Lords' amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill.
  4. The adjournment debate was on Corby fire services.
  5. The House of Lords sat at 14.30 GMT for oral questions.
  6. Peers then examined the Pension Schemes Bill in a committee of the whole House.
  7. The short debate looked at encouraging elderly people to prepare living wills and powers of attorney.

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 in the Commons.

MPs return at 11.30 GMT on Tuesday for debates on the Charter for Budget Responsibility, which sets out the government's approach to fiscal policy, and consideration of Lords amendments to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.

Do join us then.

Minister's response

House of Commons

Parliament

Minister Penny Mordaunt, responding to Andy Sawford says: "It is clear that the proposal is not to reduce cover" but to improve the response in rural areas.

Mr Sawford says the local authority plans to cut one fire engine in Corby and that means a cut in services.

"There are operational reasons why this is being put forward," Ms Mordaunt insists.

Deputy speaker intervenes

House of Commons

Parliament

The deputy speaker interrupts the Conservative MP for Wellingborough, Peter Bone, to point out that the debate is again going a little wide of the subject.

For the second time this evening, she urges a return to "the central proposition here".

An adjournment debate should be used by an MP to put points to a minister, rather than a debate between two backbench MPs, she says.

Corby fire service cuts

House of Commons

Parliament

There are 48 firefighters employed in four watches at Corby's Phoenix Parkway fire station.

Force bosses want to cut that number to 36.

If the cuts are given the green light, they will come into force in April 2015.

Constituents' condemnation

House of Commons

Parliament

Andy Sawford quotes many of his constituents who have condemned plans to cut fire services in Corby.

He argues that cuts are falling on Corby only, with other nearby areas not affected in the same way.

However, many nearby rural areas rely on Corby's fire services, he adds.

Andy Sawford
BBC

End of Lords business

House of Lords

Parliament

And with that the House of Lords adjourns.

Peers will return tomorrow at 14.30 GMT when the main business will be the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.

Government response

House of Lords

Parliament

Health Minister Earl Howe announces that the Ministry of Justice plans to run a campaign to raise awareness of the need to plan for the future and "encourage the public to think about what would happen in the event of their death or if they lost their capacity".

Earl Howe points out that the government has already established a

power of attorney digital tool, to make it easier to prepare a lasting power of attorney document.

The government supports the idea that "all citizens should be cared for and treated in a matter they would choose in a time when they may not be able to make decisions for themselves", he tells peers.

But the government's policy is to seek to ensure people are aware of their rights under law but it is up to the individual to make what he describes as "an intensely personal decision".

Earl Howe
BBC
Earl Howe sets out the government's position on living wills and lasting power of attorney

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The final business of the day begins: an adjournment debate led by the Labour MP for Corby, Andy Sawford.

He is using the debate to raise his concerns about local authority cuts to fire services in his constituency.

'Out of order'

House of Commons

Parliament

Deputy Speaker Dawn Primarolo warns Kevan Jones that he is straying from the topic of the debate.

"Members may be entertained by your contribution but it is my job to keep you in order, and you are currently out of order," she tells the Labour MP.

Dawn Primarolo
BBC

Lords 'logjam'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Kevan Jones says there is a "logjam" in the House of Lords, as the House of Commons has sent so much legislation for it to consider in detail.

"We are going to have a pretty thin February and March waiting for bills to come back," he adds, in a speech criticising the way in which the government has managed parliamentary business.

Paramount importance

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Joffe, who has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's, says that the importance of recording people's wishes for the end of their life is "paramount".

"Speedy and energetic" government leadership is needed to bring the UK into line with the USA, he says, where living wills are "positively common" and are even used by Barack and Michelle Obama.

'Should plan for our deaths'

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Baroness Flather argues: "Like everything in our lives that we should plan for our deaths."

She acknowledges that people are afraid of talking about death, and instead use euphuisms like "passed away".

However, she says that there must be some way of finding out what a person's wishes are ahead of a deterioration in their health.

Extension motion

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons finishes its deliberations on the Consumer Rights Bill and appoint a committee to provide the House of Lords with a reason for disagreeing with its amendment.

MPs are now considering a motion to extend the period of the bill's consideration by 67 days until 30 March 2015.

This means that peers can potentially amend the bill again and return it to the Commons without it running out of parliamentary time.

Living wills debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Living wills have caused controversy because they assume that the wishes of the person would be the same when they become incompetent as when they make the will.

There is some evidence that it is much harder to anticipate one's state of mind when dying or when receiving significant medical treatment than had been thought, and equally hard, if not impossible, to anticipate what one's state of mind - if any - will be when one is in a coma.

However a

survey reported in the British Medical Journal in June 2000 found that although elderly inpatients were confused by the term "living will", most would welcome the chance to discuss issues about facing the end of life, and many would want to limit their health care if they were terminally ill.

@SharonHodgsonMP

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson

tweets: Govt has overturned amendment to #putfansfirst. Not over yet, as goes back to Lords where a cross-party of Peers are ready to take up mantle

Saving future pain

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Baroness Bakewell argues that more needs to be done to encourage elderly people, including those with early stage dementia, to prepare living wills and powers of attorney in anticipation of serious illness or degenerative disease.

Living wills set out a patient's wishes regarding health care and how they want to be treated if they become seriously ill and unable to make or communicate their own choices.

Not facing up to legal matters as early as possible will lead to more pain for families, the Labour peer argues.

Baroness Bakewell
BBC

Ping pong

House of Commons

Parliament

The Consumer Rights Bill has passed all stages in both the Commons and the Lords and is now in a process known as parliamentary "ping pong".

Both Houses must agree on the final form of the bill before it can proceed to royal assent and become law.

When the bill returns to the Lords, peers may try to reinstate the amendment that MPs have rejected today or they may choose to accept the will of the Commons.

More on the Consumer Rights Bill

The Consumer Rights Bill strengthens powers to investigate breaches of consumer law and would allow trading standards officers to work across local authority boundaries.

It sets out minimum quality rights for consumers in sales of goods and service contracts.

The current regime has been criticised for being too complex and not keeping up with technological change.

At present, people buying digital goods do not have the same protection as those buying tangible products.

Committee stage completed

House of Lords

Parliament

The Pensions Bill completes its committee stage.

Peers now move to the last of today's business - a short debate led by Labour's Joan Bakewell, on the steps being taken to encourage elderly people to prepare living wills and powers of attorney.

Cap needed

House of Lords

Parliament

Work and Pensions spokesman Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth says the cap on payments is in place because the Pension Protection Fund is underfunded.

Any increase to the compensation cap needs to be paid for, he argues - which would either lead to the reduction of the amounts paid to those in the scheme or an increased levy paid by those who sign up to the scheme.

Lord Balfe withdraws his amendment.

More Lords amendments

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons now moves on to consider other Lords amendments to the bill.

The government is in a more conciliatory mood about many of these amendments, which minister Jo Swinson says "improve" the bill.

Lords amendment rejected

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote to back the government and overturn the Lords amendment by 290 votes to 203 - a majority of 87.

Vote on Lords amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are now voting on whether to support or reject the Lords amendment on secondary ticketing platforms.

Pension protection fund

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Balfe is tabling an amendment calling for a review on limitations that can be paid out to people in a

pension protection fund.

The cap on payments that can be taken out of the fund - set up to protect people from losing their pensions if the company providing their pension went insolvent - limits the amount those in the fund can draw out if they were to use the more flexible pension schemes established by the bill, Lord Balfe argues.

The cap was put in place to stop company directors from abusing the fund by transferring their own pension liability to the pension protection fund, by making them unable to draw out the large funds they would otherwise be entitled to.

Amendment rejected

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs vote to reject an amendment which supported aspects of changes made to the bill in the Lords, by 289 votes to 204 - a government majority of 85.

'Clear the lobbies!'

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons divides to vote on an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill which would place new requirements on secondary ticketing websites.

The changes were originally introduced during the bill's passage through the House of Lords, and the government opposes them.

However, a number of MPs from all sides have spoken in support of the amendment as a way of stopping organised ticket touts buying large numbers of tickets and reselling them at an inflated price, and Labour MP Sharon Hodgson and Conservative MP Mike Weatherley have introduced their own amendment.

MPs will vote shortly on whether to accept or reject the original Lords amendment.

Cancellation risk

House of Commons

Parliament

Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Jo Swinson is summing up for the government and opposing the Lords amendment on secondary ticketing platforms.

She argues that ticketing websites now offer more protection for consumers and have measures in place to detect fraud.

She says that requiring sites to give the name of the seller and the ticket number is intended to allow an event organiser to cancel tickets if they suspect someone is reselling them.

The amendment could mean "the fan with the spare ticket" risks having "all their tickets cancelled" if they cannot attend an event and wish to resell a ticket, she argues.

Jo Swinson
BBC

Pre-existing powers

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Bourne of Aberstwyth argues that this amendment is unnecessary as the government already has powers to cap charges on the new flexi-access funds if necessary

Together with the FCA, who also have product intervention powers which would allow them to cap charges on flexi-access funds, all institutions that can offer such funds are covered, Lord Bourne says.

Labour withdraw their amendment.

Labour backing for amendment

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow business, innovation and skills minister Stella Creasy is speaking in support of the amendment made by peers to the Consumer Rights Bill.

The amendment says: "Secondary ticketing operators must, on the website on which tickets are offered for sale or transfer, provide information concerning the sellers of tickets so that sellers may be easily identified."

Ms Creasy argues that, in "a country which is now drowning in personal debt", it is important to ensure that people do not get "ripped off".

Stella Creasy
BBC

"Rip off charges"

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour Work and Pensions Spokesman Lord Bradley is tabling a motion to place a cap on charges that may be imposed on members of flexi-access drawdown funds.

Quoting from a report by consumers' association Which?, Lord Bradley warns that pensioners may be subject to "rip-off charges" of 1% or 2%, plus an administration fee of £250 per year, to access their pensions under new schemes without a cap.

Committee stage

House of Lords

Parliament

At Committee stage, peers go through a bill line by line and deal with the clauses of a bill one by one. In Committees of the whole House - like this - any peer may put down and move an amendment .

Amendments at this stage can serve a variety of purposes, and tend not to be pushed to a vote.

If a bill is highly contentious in party political terms, many amendments will be pegs to give publicity to government and opposition viewpoints.

So-called '"probing amendments" are used to clarify provisions in the bill and to give government ministers a chance to outline the government's thinking behind them.

Following committee stage the bill moves to report, where the real voting action takes place as peers tend push for a vote to test the opinion of the house.

FCA powers

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Newby argues that the FCA already has appropriate powers to protect pensioners who have not taken up the offer of guidance, and is committed to protecting consumer in financial markets and monitoring the pensions market.

He tells peers that the FCA has powers to intervene if products have been mis-sold that are inappropriate for consumers' product intervention powers, which allow them to ban or impose restrictions on certain products.

Following these assurances, the amendment is withdrawn.

Unguided pensioners amendment

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are now debating an amendment to require the Financial Conduct Authority to protect pensioners who have not taken government guidance on key risks and benefits.

Amendment backed

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Mike Weatherley, who is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Secondary Ticketing, backs the Lords amendment to place requirements on websites reselling event tickets.

"Quite clearly, the free market has fallen down," he argues, rejecting the position of his fellow Conservative MP, Philip Davis.

Mr Weatherley is also a former intellectual property adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron.

'Choice' of the House

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Nic Dakin claims the House has a choice between being "on the side of the consumer, or on the side of the touts" when it votes on whether to accept or reject the Lords amendment on secondary ticket sales.

'Legitimate market'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Philip Davies, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, is speaking against the Lords amendment on secondary ticketing.

He says the Commons committee produced a "unanimous report" which concluded that "the secondary ticketing market was a legitimate market and worked in the interests of consumers".

He accuses Labour MP Sharon Hodgson of talking "absolute cobblers", adding: "She's a socialist, and of course she wants to stop the free market."

Protecting consumers

House of Lords

Parliament

Treasury Minister Lord Newby says the government and regulators - such as the FCA - will, as a matter of course, keep an eye on the changing market to see that it is operating well and ensure that users of the market are protected.

Secondary ticketing platforms

House of Commons

Parliament

Among peers' amendments to the Consumer Rights Bill is one which places requirements on secondary ticketing platforms.

The amendment would require websites offering event tickets for resale or transfer to provide the name and details of the seller.

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson argues that the change is necessary to stop ticket touts exploiting the resale market by buying a large number of "primary tickets" and reselling them at an inflated rate.

She claims is it important to bring "transparency" to the market.

Budget reforms

House of Lords

Parliament

Under proposals announced in

last year's budget, millions of people reaching retirement age will be able to spend their pension pot in any way they want.

It will remove the requirement on many people with defined contribution pensions to buy an annuity, a financial product that guarantees an income for the rest of your life.

The government says that the overhaul will give retirees more flexibility to do what they want with their pension savings, but Labour says this policy has the potential to be "reckless".

The new proposed rules will come in from April 2015, but some of the current rules were relaxed in March 2014.

Impact report

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now return to the Pensions Bill.

Crossbench peer Baroness Greengross tables an amendment requiring the Treasury to make an annual report on the lives of people who take up the government's offer of "flexible drawdown" on their pensions

Baroness Greengross argues that the new freedoms could lead to more people living in "pension poverty". In order to understand the new risks that accompany the new options people need to be better informed, she says.