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Summary

  1. MPs met at 09.30 GMT for questions to the transport team; later in the day there will be the Business Statement, announced by Leader of the House William Hague.
  2. Home Secretary Theresa May announced that she will take a decision on a new chairman for the official inquiry into child sexual abuse by the end January.
  3. The government announced new legislation for devolving powers to Scotland based on the findings of the Smith Commission.
  4. MPs debated a motion on the House of Commons governance - following a report from the House of Commons Governance Committee.
  5. The day's adjournment debate was on fire risks in timber framed houses, led by Liberal Democrat MP Sir Andrew Stunnell.
  6. The House of Lords began at 11.00 GMT and the first item was the introduction of former Commons Clerk Sir Robert Rogers as Lord Lisvane.
  7. Oral questions followed, and peers also held debates on UK infrastructure, improving access to victim support for those with autism; and local government.

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Sam Francis

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

House of Lords

Parliament

And that's it from the Lords for today.

Peers will meet tomorrow to consider private members' bills from 10.00 GMT.

Their colleagues in the Commons will debate private members' bills from 09.30 GMT.

Church of England measures

House of Lords

Parliament

The terrorism order is approved and peers are now considering three Church of England measures.

Measures are items of legislation approved by the Church's General Synod which require the approval of Parliament.

The measures today concern the care of churches, ecclesiastical property and Church of England pensions.

Terrorism order

House of Lords

Parliament

The final business today consists of one statutory instrument - an order made in Parliament under existing legislation - which is the

Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) Amendment Order 2015.

The order, passed by MPs yesterday, amends the Terrorism Act 2000 to add two organisations to the list of those banned under the law.

Peers are being asked to outlaw the Syrian Jund Al-Aqsa (Soldiers of Al-Aqsa) and the Jund al Khalifa-Algeria (Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria).

'Rule out another referendum'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Cormack asks if there should be "a clause to rule out a further referendum for the next 10 years".

'Federal UK'

House of Lords

Parliament

Government spokesman Lord Wallace, a Liberal Democrat, says his party remains committed to "a federal United Kingdom and home rule".

Lord Wallace of Tankerness
BBC

'Recipe for stability?'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale - a former First Minister of Scotland - says the spending commitment in the proposals "falls far short of the spending power of the Scottish Parliament".

He asks whether the UK government believes this is "a recipe for stability".

Lord Wallace says he does believe the plans can lead to "an enduring settlement" but "a lot of work" will be needed by the UK and Scottish governments.

Scotland powers statement

House of Lords

Parliament

The local government debate is over and Scotland Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Tankerness is now repeating a Commons statement on the publication of draft Scotland clauses.

The UK government has published draft legislation on new powers for Holyrood, following a report by the Smith Commission recommending more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

David Cameron, who

met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh today, said Westminster ministers had kept their promise to strengthen Holyrood.

However, the SNP claimed the proposals had been significantly watered down.

End of Commons business

House of Commons

Parliament

And with that business in the House of Commons comes to an end.

MPs will return tomorrow at 09.30 GMT to debate private members' bills, beginning with Conservative MP Mark Spencer's Local Government (Review of Decisions) Bill which increases powers to scrutinise health and safety decisions made by councils.

Stay with us this evening though as as peers continue their debate on the government's finance settlement over in the House of Lords.

Government response

House of Commons

Parliament

While agreeing that timber-framed houses can pose a increased fire risk, Communities and Local Government Minister Stephen Williams tells MPs there is no increased risk of death or injury due to building regulations.

But he agrees to look at Sir Andrew's suggestions as the government carry out their review of regulations.

'Accusations of partisanship'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Liddle, a member of Cumbria County Council, says he accepts Baroness Eaton's argument that "serious cuts" would have been made if Labour had won in 2010.

However, he says the main point is about the distribution of funding to local authorities.

"Does the government believe that its distribution of grant is fair?" he asks.

He asks how ministers could "avoid accusations of partisanship" in distributing funds to wealthier areas in the south of England.

Highlighting risk

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Andrew calls on the government to do more to highlight the risk of timber-framed houses, specifically to house-building trade bodies and DIY enthusiasts.

Greater Manchester Fire Service has that found that timber framed houses are often damaged by fires during house work, he says.

'No money left'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Baroness Eaton, a councillor in Bradford and, like Lord Beecham, a former head of the LGA, claims that a Labour government would have had to make cuts as the coalition had done.

She asks fellow peers not to forget a note left by outgoing Treasury Chief Secretary Liam Byrne for his successor, in which he "admitted that, after 13 years of Labour government, there was no money left".

She claims: "Local government was always going to face significant financial challenges, no matter who was elected in 2010."

Fire risk

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Andrew Stunnell tells MPs that a fire broke out in a housing estate in his constituency resulting in three houses burning down.

Sir Andrew, who worked for 20 years as an architect, tells MPs that in a modern homes fires like this should not rapidly spread to neighbouring homes.

In this case the fire was allowed to spread because "fire stopping" measures were not followed in these timber framed houses.

Second maiden speech

House of Lords

Parliament

The second of the two maiden speeches in the local government finance debate comes from the Bishop of Southwark.

Bishop of Southwark
BBC

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to the last of today's business the adjournment debate today led by Liberal Democrat MP Sir Andrew Stunnell on the fire risk in timber framed houses.

Motion passed

House of Commons

Parliament

The motion to welcome the report of the House of Commons Governance Committee passes unanimously.

This vote is not binding on government and does not directly affect policy. However seeing as both sides of the House have widely welcomed the committees findings it seems likely that the report recommendations will be adopted.

Brittan tribute

House of Commons

Parliament

Jack Straw, chair of the House of Commons Governance Committee, is now responding to the debate.

He opens his comments by paying tribute to Leon Brittan and offering his sympathies to Lord Brittan's widow, Diana.

'Systematic transfer'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Whitty argues that the distribution of funding to local authorities amounts to "the systematic transfer from the poorer to the richer areas".

‏@OllyGrender

Fellow Lib Dem peer Olly Grender tweets: Cracking maiden speech by @KathPinnock a delight to have as a colleague

Maiden speech

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Pinnock, a councillor in Kirklees in West Yorkshire, is making her maiden speech in the House of Lords.

"In Kirklees, a total of £152m of spending on services is being taken out of the budget between 2011 and 2018," she says.

This has led to the council proposing "a 15% reduction in spending on services for vulnerable adults" and "reducing the number of fully funded libraries from 26 to two".

'Downward squeeze'

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord True, council leader in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, says he wonders how Labour would find more money for local government.

"I heard no promise from that front bench to reverse the downward squeeze on spending," he says.

He criticises plans for a "mansion tax", claiming that "the average semi" in Richmond costs more than £1m.

Picture: Lord Beecham

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Beecham opens the local government finance debate
BBC

'Desperate plight'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Beecham says that Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles offered to make "the largest cuts of any government department" to the Treasury in 2010.

"I've never known a time in which local government and local democracy in such a desperate plight as they now are," the former chairman of the Local Government Association tells the House.

Right to divide roles

House of Commons

Parliament

Chair of the Administration Committee, Sir Alan Haselhurst, says over the years he had come to his own conclusion that it was time to separate the functions of the Clerk of the Parliament and the new Director General.

He warns though that whoever takes the role of Director General will have to "understand the House of Commons".

Local government finance debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers are beginning the third debate of the day, which is on the Local Government Finance Settlement and its implications for the future of local government.

The provisional local government finance settlement 2015-2016 was published last year, setting out government funding for local authorities in England for the coming financial year.

Local Government Minister

Kris Hopkins made a statement to MPs on 18 December 2014.

'Minor quibble'

House of Commons

Parliament

Former Leader of the House Sir George Young has a "minor quibble" with the report's assertion that ministers have a role in scheduling business - which he says is not true.

Aside from this, he says, he supports the report.

'Not fit for the 21st Century'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's David Winnick says the restoration of the Houses of Parliament buildings should be "the most important" issue for the next government.

Mr Winnick complains that "vast sums of money" are being spent to mitigate the effects of asbestos in the walls, poor wiring and leaky roofs.

The Palace of Westminster, the official name for the building that accommodates the Houses of Parliament, is "not fit for the 21st Century and indeed is dangerous in its present condition," he says.

Leon Brittan tribute

House of Commons

Parliament

Leader of the House William Hague interrupts proceedings to inform the House that former home secretary Leon Brittan has died.

Mr Hague describes Lord Brittan as a "kind, assiduous and brilliant man".

Death of Lord Brittan

Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan has died aged 75 after a long battle with cancer, his family have said.

The former Conservative MP was home secretary in Margaret Thatcher's government from 1983 to 1985.

House of Lords rules state that a member's death is announced before oral questions, which means that Lord Brittan's death will not be formally relayed to the House until Monday morning.

Living to regret it

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative committee member Jacob Rees-Mogg tells MPs he feels conflicted about the improvements.

Describing recommendations on streamlining the legislative process, Mr Rees-Mogg says: "I slightly regret this sometimes because I think an awful lot of legislation is bad, and if a little less got through that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

"But the government have to be able to get their bills through."

Criminal justice and autism debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The motion introduced by Baroness Uddin follows the case of Faruk Ali, a 33-year-old man who has the mental age of a five-year-old. Two Bedfordshire police officers were accused of chasing and beating Mr Ali in Luton on 20 February last year.

The officers were cleared of all charges in December.

On 11 January, around 100 protesters

marched on Luton police station in support of Mr Ali and demanding "transparency" in the case.

Personal case

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Uddin is raising the case of a disabled man in a debate about improving access to the criminal justice system and victim support for people with autism spectrum disorders, in the light of the case of Faruk Ali.

Now the House of Lords

House of Commons

Parliament

DUP committee member Ian Paisley says there is "desperate need" for the House of Lords to reform alongside the House of Commons, otherwise it will get left behind, or worse "impede progress".

The report calls for the two Houses to work together more closely and share more services in the future.

Civil Service Model

House of Commons

Parliament

Committee member Sir Oliver Heald said the new model for the Director General came from the civil service, where senior officials often work alongside a junior who has "commercial and operational skills" that allow things "to get done".

Labour backing

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle says she has "recommended acting on the recommendations of the report quickly".

She adds: "All of us are anxious that the House endorses the report today."

'Implementation should follow'

House of Commons

Parliament

Leader of the House William Hague says he hopes MPs will support the motion backing the Governance Committee's recommendations, after which "implementation should follow very quickly".

He says a new Commons Clerk should be appointed before Parliament dissolves ahead of the general election.

'Dispute' role

House of Commons

Parliament

Jack Straw proposes a role for the House of Commons Commission in resolving "any dispute" which may occur between the Commons Clerk and the director general - a new post proposed in the report.

If an area of dispute arose, the matter "would go to Mr Speaker and be resolved by the Commission", he says.

First in 40 years

House of Commons

Parliament

Jack Straw, the chairman of the Governance Committee, tells MPs this is the first "root and branch" examination of the governance of the House of Commons since the Bottomley Committee - whose recommendations led directly to the introduction of the House of Commons Administration Act 1978.

Jack Straw
BBC

House of Commons governance

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to the debate on the report of the

House Governance Committee, which recommends some major changes in the way the Commons is administered.

It follows

the row last year over the attempted appointment of a successor to Sir Robert Rogers - now Lord Lisvane - as clerk of the House.

The recommendations include hiving off the administrative part of the clerk's responsibilities to a new director general, and launching an immediate process to fill both posts.

It also recommends electing MPs to sit on the House of Commons Commission, which oversees the running of the Commons and its services to MPs.

Point of Order

House of Commons

Parliament

Cheryl Gillan asks why the HS2 Funding Referendum Bill, which was due to be debated first during tomorrow's debates on private members' bills, has now tabled as second.

The report stage of the Local Government (Review of Decisions) Bill will now be taken first. The move means the HS2 Funding Referendum Bill will probably not get its second reading.

Speaker John Bercow tell Ms Gillan, a long time campaigner against the HS2 high-speech rail line, that the move was due to a convention that bills at report stage take precedence over bills at second reading.