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Summary

  1. MPs met at 09.30 GMT and the day started with questions to the Culture Secretary and his ministerial team.
  2. Following that, Leader of the House William Hague announced forthcoming business.
  3. The main business was backbench debates - on contaminated blood and the TTIP agreement.
  4. The Lords met at 11.00 GMT. The day started with oral questions, followed by a debate on the natural environment, green transport and protecting wildlife.
  5. Other debates included pressures facing accident and emergency services, mental health care provision, and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

House of Lords

Parliament

And with that the House of Lords concludes for the evening.

Peers will be back at 10.00 GMT tomorrow to continue with their detailed discussion of Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill.

MPs will be back at 09.30 GMT to debate their own private members' bills starting with the report stage of the Conservative Jake Berry's Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill - which guarantees local councils the right to hold prayers in their meetings.

Government response

House of Lords

Parliament

Responding for the government International Development Spokeswoman Baroness Northover tells peers that the government is already exceeding its targets to save 50,000 maternal lives and 250,000 newborn children by 2015.

Advances are being made through improving family planning, skill birth attendants and making health systems stronger, she says.

To continue this trend the government is committed to making universal health coverage and the social, political and economic empowerment of women remains a top priority for the "post-2015 development agenda", she adds.

Labour's pledge

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour spokesman Lord Collins of Highbury is responding to the debate.

He calls on the government to match Labour's promise to put universal health coverage of "at the heart of the global development agenda" if in power after the next election, in order to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths.

Health and economic output are "interdependent" he says, and improving health care will not only help end death from preventable causes but prevent 100 million people every year falling into poverty.

Family planning

House of Lords

Parliament

Independent peer Baroness Tonge links the high number of maternal and neonatal deaths to a lack of family planning, which she says allows women to control their own body and extend the amount of time between children.

"We know women in the developing world would use family planning if it was available," she says.

Fewer people would also lead to less environmental degradation, less international aid and potentially less migration, she adds.

1% target

House of Lords

Parliament

Obstetrician and Crossbench peer Lord Patel calls on the government to set a new target to reduce neonatal deaths and stillborn babies to 1% of all births in all countries by 2035.

Goodbye from the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

And that's it from the Commons for today.

MPs meet tomorrow from 09.30 GMT to consider private members' bills.

Meanwhile, the debate on reducing maternal and neonatal mortality continues in the Lords.

Minister replies

House of Commons

Parliament

Health Minister Jane Ellison says "outcomes are particularly poor" for sufferers of pancreatic cancer.

"We need to do better," she adds.

An independent

cancer task force is being set up in England, to try to diagnose the disease earlier.

'No political will'

House of Lords

Parliament

Opening the debate, Crossbench peer Baroness Hayman tells peers that 800 women die every day in pregnancy and child birth - 50 will die in the course of this short debate - while there are three million neonatal deaths each year from preventable causes.

The solutions are well known, but there is "no political will" to aid the poor countries where maternal and neonatal mortality are disproportionately high, she says.

She urges the government to "put the resources and the priority into the work to end maternal and neonatal deaths" to stop "this being the reality for millions".

Baroness Hayman
BBC
Baroness Hayman calls on the government to do more to prevent maternal and neonatal deaths around the world

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Finally in the Commons today, Labour MP Nic Dakin opens an adjournment debate on future medical support for sufferers of pancreatic cancer.

Nic Dakin
BBC

Neonatal debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers pass the Insurance Bill (Law Commission Bill) - which

updates and replaces aspects of law around the disclosure of risk to insurers - on the nod, before turning to the last of today's debates on reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world.

Motion passed

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Geraint Davies, closing the debate, says more scrutiny is needed to ensure "we don't have multinationals breathing down our necks".

While there has been much disagreement over the benefits or otherwise of TTIP, MPs pass the backbench motion without a vote.

'Feet to the fire'

House of Lords

Parliament

Health Spokeswoman Baroness Jolly is given the task of responding to the debate for the government.

The Lib Dem peer points to the government's commitment to "parity of esteem" - valuing mental health equally with physical health - in the Health and Social Care Act as an example of the governments engagement with mental health.

"There is still more to be done" she says, telling peers that mental health problems remain the "single largest cause of disability" in the UK and will affect one in four people at some point in their life.

But she adds she feels confident that whatever the result of the general election the House of Lords will keep the government's "feet to the fire" over mental health.

Baroness Jolly
BBC
Baroness Jolly responding to the debate for the government

Recognition over public services

House of Commons

Parliament

Matthew Hancock insists that both EU and US negotiators have recognised that public services including the NHS would be exempt from TTIP.

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is necessary, he argues, so that investors "have confidence to make those investments, knowing there is recourse".

Lifted from 'grinding poverty'

House of Commons

Parliament

Matthew Hancock claims that millions of people in the world have been lifted from "grinding poverty" as a result of access to trade.

Matthew Hancock
BBC

'Free trade'

House of Commons

Parliament

Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock is replying for the government.

"We are, as a nation, deeply committed to free and fair exchange," he says.

He adds: "TTIP is about free and fair trade."

Call for scrutiny

House of Commons

Parliament

The motion for debate today, chosen by the Backbench Business Committee, calls for scrutiny of the EU-US TTIP trade deal in Westminster and in the European Parliament.

Labour response

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow health spokesman Lord Bradley is answering the debate for the Labour benches.

He urges the government to explore ways to make the NHS fairer and to consider revising the payments systems for mental health services, to put physical and mental health on an equal footing.

He also advocates investing in cost-effective interventions, currently undermined by what he calls a "postcode lottery".

'Hold ministers to account'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow business, innovation and skills minister Ian Murray is speaking for the opposition in the debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

He argues that Parliament "lacks proper ways to hold ministers to account for what they do or decide in Europe with regard to these trade deals".

He says Labour supports "the principle" of TTIP but will not accept a deal that does not protect public services.

'Creeping privatisation'

House of Commons

Parliament

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas argues that the proposed EU-US trade deal constitutes an "unacceptable threat to the ability of future governments, for example, to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and to reverse creeping privatisation in the public health sector".

The BMA is "continuing to lobby against the inclusion of health in TTIP", she adds.

Governments sued

House of Commons

Parliament

Zac Goldsmith differs from his fellow Conservatives and criticised the investor-state dispute settlement, claiming that similar trade deals had led to corporations suing governments elsewhere in the world.

As well as "Australia being sued by tobacco giants for taking measures to dissuade people from smoking", he says, "Canada, I believe, has been sued 35 times under ISDS mechanisms".

He adds that Canada was sued by Ethyl Corporation when it banned the "highly toxic" fuel additive MMT and had to "reverse its ban".

Ethyl Corporation claimed against Canada under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

Experience of prison care

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Ramsbotham speaks, and begins by paying tribute to MPs Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb for their work in the field of mental health, as ministers.

The peer says that when he took over as chief inspector of prisons for England and Wales, he was alarmed to find out that mental health care in prisons was not under the jurisdiction of the NHS - and that only 10% of medical officers in prisons were qualified to act as GPs in the NHS.

He tells peers that he worked to remedy that during his tenure.

Public health 'exempt'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Health Select Committee, says Eilidh Whiteford's concerns about the NHS are unfounded.

"I would not be supporting this deal if it would have the effect that she has outlined," Ms Wollaston tells MPs.

Publicly-funded health services are exempt from the TTIP, she insists, and suggests that opposition MPs are using the debate to attack the government's record on the NHS instead.

Sarah Wollaston
BBC

'Shrouded in secrecy'

House of Commons

Parliament

"We need an explicit exclusion of public healthcare and also associated services from the TTIP," the SNP's Eilidh Whiteford says.

Negotiations on the deal have been "shrouded in secrecy", she claims, and should be subject to greater scrutiny.

Eilidh Whiteford
BBC

Maiden speech

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Suri
BBC
Conservative peer Lord Suri is making his maiden speech to the Lords

'No threat' to NHS

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Julian Sturdy claims there is "no threat to our NHS" from the TTIP.

The deal could lead to work on "innovation" with US companies but no change to a health service which is free at the point of use, he adds.

Trade deal defended

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Robin Walker rejects some of the doubts that other MPs have raised about the TTIP.

He argues that arrangements similar to the investor-state dispute settlement exist around the world and corporations do not necessarily prevail over governments.

"The UK has never lost a case in ISDS negotiations," he says.

Next debate in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

The Lords has moved on and peers are now listening to the opening of a debate on mental health care provision.

Baroness Tyler of Enfield is the first speaker in this debate, and calls mental health work the "Cinderella" service.

Lady Tyler is a Lib Dem peer and serves on the development board of Think Ahead, a body mainly funded by the Department of Health working to develop a new fast track recruitment programme to encourage more graduates into mental health social work. The Lib Dems have made improving mental health services a key plank of their electoral promise.

The government has made parity of esteem between physical and mental health a legal obligation in the NHS but last year Health Minister Norman Lamb described mental health services for young people as "not fit for purpose".

ISDS dropped

House of Commons

Parliament

It has been reported that the part of the TTIP which has attracted the most public opposition in Europe, the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), has been set aside by negotiators.

Opponents say the ISDS is designed explicitly to give private companies and investors new rights to sue governments.

In the UK, campaigners are concerned about US health companies bidding for NHS contracts.

Geraint Davies argues that the deal would mean the NHS is "fundamentally at risk" because changes under the government's Health and Social Care Act mean parts of it are open to competition.

About TTIP

House of Commons

Parliament

TTIP is a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, aimed at removing trade barriers in various economic sectors to boost trade.

The deal, if it succeeds, would open up hitherto restricted markets on both sides of the Atlantic and could boost US GDP by $90bn and EU GDP by $120bn, according to EU predictions.

However, opponents of the proposed deal claim it would increase corporate power and make it more difficult to regulate markets for public benefit.

NHS pressures

House of Lords

Parliament

Health Minister Earl Howe responds on behalf of the government.

He tells peers that the NHS is facing unprecedented demand - but despite this is still providing high quality care. He says that this year admissions to A&E is higher than any year since 2010.

In fact, he says, emergency admissions are up 6% on last year - this year that means the NHS is seeing double the trend of increase in recent years.

TTIP debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The second backbench debate, on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), begins.

The motion was tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland and Labour MP Geraint Davies, who is opening the debate.

The motion says the EU-US trade deal "and any associated investor-state dispute settlement provisions should be subject to scrutiny in the European Parliament and the UK Parliament".

Labour response

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow health spokesman Lord Hunt of Kings Heath asks whether the government is going to undertake a review of the 111 helpline.

He also asks: "what is going on in the East of England Ambulance Service". He calls for a review in that case too.

Debate closes

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Alistair Burt closes the contaminated blood debate.

"I don't think a future Parliament will wear a government of any stripe that do not do something about that," he says.

He says all parties could put a commitment to act in their manifestos.

'New therapies'

House of Commons

Parliament

Health Minister Jane Ellison says that the NHS has introduced "new therapies" including treatments for those suffering from liver failure or cirrhosis as a result of hepatitis C.

"The UK now has one of the safest blood supplies in the world," she adds.

Jane Ellison
BBC

Shadow health secretary's speech

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is speaking for Labour in the contaminated blood debate.

He quotes Labour peer and medical practitioner Lord Winston, who called the infection of patients with hepatitis C and HIV "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS".

Mr Burnham, who is the MP for Leigh, says he is speaking in the debate because he has constituents who are affected by "this scandal".

Andy Burnham
BBC

A&E debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bishop of St Albans is now introducing the debate on the pressures facing A&E departments and emergency services.

The Rt Revd Alan Smith recounts how his family relied on the ambulance services after his nephew was taken ill at Christmas and was rushed into hospital in Watford.

The Bishop of St Albans
BBC

Front bench attendance

House of Commons

Parliament

Geoffrey Robinson adds that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt attended the contaminated blood debate earlier, and notes that shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is in the chamber.

The attendance of the secretary of state and his Labour shadow at a Thursday afternoon backbench debate is unusual, and might indicate an awareness of the strong views of many MPs on the subject.

Andy Burnham and Geoffrey Robinson
BBC
Andy Burnham on the Labour front bench during Geoffrey Robinson's speech

Debate coming to an end

House of Lords

Parliament

Environment Minister Lord De Mauley is now summing up for the government in the debate on the environment.

'No more reports'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson tells MPs: "We don't need any more reports. We don't need the Penrose report. We've had the Archer report. We've had all sorts of investigations that have proved beyond doubt that it's a government responsibility.

"The extent of the tragedy is tremendous and the provision we have made so far is inadequate.

"That's the end of story. What we need know is a resolution."

Lord Penrose is leading an inquiry for the Scottish government, while the late Labour peer Lord Archer of Sandwell led an

independent inquiry which reported in 2009.

Sad stories

House of Commons

Parliament

Many MPs are recounting stories from constituents - currently it is the turn of Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, following Tom Clarke, Labour's MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.