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Summary

  1. MPs met at 14.30 GMT and began with questions to the education ministerial team.
  2. The main business of the day was the consideration of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill.
  3. The adjournment debate was on the future of Millhouse Green Post Office.
  4. Peers sat from 14.30 GMT with oral questions, followed by consideration of the Recall of MPs Bill in a committee of the whole House.
  5. The short debate was on support given to individual artists, including visual artists, writers and composers.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Eleanor Gruffydd-Jones

All times stated are UK

Democracy Day

Also on Tuesday, the BBC marks the 750th anniversary of the first Westminster Parliament with

Democracy Day.

Join us for a day of live events, discussions and debate, to be broadcast across the BBC from inside Westminster and from the BBC Radio Theatre in central London.

BBC Parliament will broadcast a special programme from 09.30 GMT, hosted by James Landale and Alicia McCarthy.

It will feature live coverage from all of the UK's legislatures, plus the European Parliament.

Goodnight from the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers have dealt with the final groups of amendments and so committee stage comes to a close and the House rises for the night.

The Recall of MPs Bill will return to the Lords for report stage at a later date but peers return tomorrow from 14.30 GMT, when the main business will be debate on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.

Before that, the House of Commons will meet from 11.30 GMT for Foreign Office questions and a debate on the renewal of Trident.

'One accredited campaigner'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour has tabled another amendment which would require only "one accredited campaigner" to represent each side in a campaign for and against recalling an MP.

Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire disagrees.

"We are content that there should be more than one registered campaigner on either or both sides," he tells peers.

Labour's Baroness Hayter withdraws the amendment but says she still has doubts about the government's position.

Labour amendment

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are debating a Labour amendment on the procedure for recall petitions in a constituency.

The amendment reads: "The petition officer will make public, before the signing period begins, the number of eligible registered electors on the day of the Speaker's notification that a recall condition has been met."

Committee stage resumes

House of Lords

Parliament

The short debate is over and, following a couple of minutes' break, peers will resume the second day of committee stage debate of the Recall of MPs Bill.

Government funding

House of Lords

Parliament

The Chancellor introduced a tax credit for the performing arts in the 2014 Budget.

Also in 2014, the Department for Education announced an £18m rise in Arts Council funding for music education.

The Arts Council is investing over £171m in the national network of 123 music education hubs in 2012-15.

Music education hubs aim to give 5-18 years olds the chance to sing, learn an instrument and perform in an ensemble.

Arts funding

House of Lords

Parliament

A House of Commons select committee said the Arts Council should "restore some balance" in funds across the country.

Arts Council England distributes more than £600m of taxpayers' and National Lottery money to cultural groups every year.

The Arts Council's annual public attitudes survey showed increased support for greater funding in arts and culture.

Dinner break debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Consideration of the Recall of MPs bill pauses for an hour while some peers take their evening meal break and others take part in a short debate on support for artists.

Crossbench peer the Earl of Clancarty, also known as visual artist and writer Nicholas Trench, is opening the debate.

Earl of Clancarty
BBC

Votes at 16?

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are considering a group of amendments including ones which would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to sign a recall petition, which were tabled by Labour peers Lord Foulkes and Lord Hughes.

Replying for Labour, Lord Kennedy of Southwark says he favours votes at 16.

The minimum age for voting in the UK elections is 18.

Government spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire suggests that debate on the recall bill "is not the place" to try to move towards votes at 16.

Amendment withdrawn

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Hamilton of Epson says he is "disappointed" by the government benches' response to the amendment.

He agrees to withdraw it, however.

Recall petitions

House of Lords

Parliament

The Recall of MPs Bill would enable a recall to be triggered by a petition signed by 10% of the registered voters in a constituency.

Peers are considering an amendment, tabled by Labour and conservative peers, which would raise the threshold to 20%.

Government spokesman Lord Gardiner of Kimble says most constituencies contain around 75,000 voters so "with a threshold of 10%" around 7,500 constituents would be required to sign a petition.

Good night from the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

A very early Monday finish for MPs as they raced through the day's legislation.

The Commons will meet again tomorrow from 11.30 GMT.

The main business will be a debate on the renewal of Trident, led by the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

Stay with us today though as the House of Lords continues its committee stage debate on the Recall of MPs Bill.

Upping the numbers

House of Lords

Parliament

Now peers turn to an amendment proposing to raise the number of petition signatories required for a recall, from 10% of the registered electorate to 20%.

This amendment has been proposed from peers across the House including Conservative Lord Hamilton of Epsom and the Labour Lords Foulkes of Cumnock and Hughes of Woodside.

Template petition

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers move onto debating an amendment to remove from the bill the exact wording of the recall petition, that must apply to every constituency calling for a recall.

An extract of the text is: "by signing in the box below, you are signing a petition for [name of the MP], to lose [his/her] seat in the House of Commons, and for a by-election to be held to decide who should be the MP for that constituency. The loss of [his/her] seat does not prevent the MP standing in this by-election."

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons looks set for an early finish as the adjournment debate begins.

The Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, Angela Smith, is leading a debate on the future of Millhouse Green post office in her constituency.

Angela Smith
BBC

Mace replaced

House of Commons

Parliament

The Commons Mace, moved for committee stage, is replaced only minutes later, to the amusement of MPs and staff.

Commons mace
BBC

Third reading

House of Commons

Parliament

This short bill has only two clauses and so line-by-line scrutiny is a short affair.

There is no report stage and third reading begins.

Right to privacy

House of Lords

Parliament

A number of peers seek to remove clause 8 from the bill.

Clause 8 would send a notice of the recall petition and related information to registered electors, but many peers express concerns that this would compromise the privacy of the petition's signatories.

Committee stage

House of Commons

Parliament

Second reading ends long before its four-hour time limit and committee stage begins.

'100% elected'

House of Commons

Parliament

Deputy leader of the Commons Tom Brake is summing up in the second reading debate.

He welcomes the support of the opposition for women bishops, adding that his "personal preference is for a 100% elected" second chamber.

Tom Brake
BBC

What's happening to the bill today?

House of Lords

Parliament

Day two of committee stage puts a bill through detailed examination.

Amendments are put forward for unrestricted debate and up for debate today are those relating to the petitioning process, campaign spending and privacy concerning the marked register of signatures.

If passed at this committee stage, the bill then moves on to report stage.

Bill stages

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are currently debating the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill at second reading, in which MPs make speeches about the general principles of the bill.

This will be followed by committee stage, during which the detail of the bill is inspected line-by-line and amendments can be made.

Report stage, when MPs review the changes made during committee stage, and then third reading, when MPs briefly review the principles of the bill, follow.

Today's timetabling motion allows for up to four hours for second reading and a further two hours for the remaining stages. Consideration of more complex bills will usually take place over several days.

Employer right to dismiss

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Lord Finkelstein expresses his support for the principle of recall as it gives "limited power to voters in limited in circumstances", giving the right to dismiss employees to "hairdressers and taxi drivers" who are the "employers of the members of parliament".

@DianaJohnsonMP

Labour MP Diana Johnson tweets: Just asked Government whether they expect 50:50 male & female representation as Bishops in 10 years time in Lords. Minister couldn't say.

'Very serious amendments'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock is moving his amendments on signing the recall petitions.

Firstly, he seeks to extend the period between when recall petition is called and the first day it can be signed. Raising the time from 10 to 21 working days would give the petition officers - the "hard-pressed individuals"- time to sort out the logistics such as organising staff and signing venues.

He would also decrease the "signing period", the period during which voters can sign the recall petition, from eight weeks to two weeks.

'Senate of the nations and regions'

House of Commons

Parliament

Stephen Twigg adds that Labour's backing for women bishops in the Lords does not alter the party's commitment to an elected second chamber.

He tells MPs that Labour favours "an elected senate of the nations and regions" in which nine English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be represented.

No win/win

House of Lords

Parliament

"All those who have been MPs in the House are deeply unhappy with the bill," says government spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire.

However, those outside Parliament want it to be tougher, as MPs are "deeply unpopular" with the general public.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire.
BBC

'Long overdue'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow minister Stephen Twigg says the Church of England "remains a vital institution in our society".

He calls gender equality in the Church "a necessary and long overdue step".

First female bishop in Parliament?

House of Commons

Parliament

If the bill is passed, it will come into force after the general election.

"We could see the first female bishop in the House of Lords in the next Parliament, " Minister Sam Gyimah says.

Sam Gyimah
BBC

Four years in the making

House of Lords

Parliament

The government stated it would enact recall legislation in the coalition agreement of 2010, following the MPs expenses scandal when some MPs were revealed to have made fraudulent claims of public money.

Bishops in the Lords

House of Commons

Parliament

Under the law as it stands, the 24 most senior diocesan bishops and two archbishops are eligible to sit in the Lords.

The bill allows for the most senior female bishops to take a seat in the Lords, instead of the most senior male bishop.

The bill's measures will be in place for a 10 year period, so t

hat female bishops are represented in the Lords.

If no female bishop is waiting to take a seat in the Lords, male bishops will continue to enter based on seniority.

'Panic Bill'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock criticises the proposed legislation as "one of the crazy bills" of the deputy prime minister.

He urges the House to support the "sensible amendment" from the Opposition that would increase petition-signing venues to a minimum of four.

He tells peers to "think of all the difficulties" for voters living in remote islands, like Orkney and Shetland who would be trying to access one of the only four petition venues available in their constituency.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock
BBC

First woman bishop

House of Commons

Parliament

The General Synod of the Church of England voted to back plans for female bishops in July 2014 and formally adopted legislation in November.

The Reverend Libby Lane was announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England in December.

Libby Lane became the new Bishop of Stockport, a post that had been vacant since May.

The first women priests were ordained in 1994, but women had not been able to become bishops.

'One denomination only'

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Bob Russell criticises the inclusion of "one denomination only" in the House of Lords and calls for other denominations and faiths to be represented.

Cabinet Office Minister Sam Gyimah says that the bill does not seek to change the "composition" or the powers of the Upper House.

Conservative MP Oliver Heald claims that "other faiths support" the inclusion of Church of England representatives in Parliament.

Timetable backed

House of Commons

Parliament

Opening on the timetabling motion, deputy leader of the House Tom Brake says the bill has "broad support".

Shadow minister Stephen Twigg concurs and MPs approve taking all stages of the bill in one day.

Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill

House of Commons

Parliament

Education questions ends and MPs move on to consider the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill, which will enable women bishops to sit in the House of Lords.

This short bill, whose provisions extent throughout the UK, is unlikely to be controversial and MPs will consider all stages in one day, if they agree the current motion setting out the time for debate.

What does recall mean?

House of Lords

Parliament

The Recall of MPs Bill would give Parliament or the public the power to remove MPs deemed unfit for public office, either through an effective "vote of no confidence" or a public petition.

Recall would also be triggered if an MP is "convicted in the UK of an offence and receives a custodial sentence" and suspended for "at least 21 sitting days, or at least 28 calendar days".

School places

House of Commons

Parliament

Tristram Hunt calls on the education secretary to apologise for recent comments that the number of pupils in classes of more than 30 was small.

"It is not a small number to every child and every parent concerned about overcrowding," he argues.

"The last Labour government took out 200,000 primary places," Nicky Morgan retorts.

@StuartAndrew

Conservative MP Stuart Andrew tweets: Just asked about tackling bullying and cyber bullying in schools in Education Questions in the chamber

'Tide of intolerance'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says recent violence in Paris, Nigeria, Pakistan and elsewhere point to "a growing tide of intolerance that seeks to undermine civil society".

He says it is "important that we provide safe schooling" for all pupils in the UK.

Tristram Hunt
BBC