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Summary

  1. MPs met at 09.30 GMT for the final day of business before the half-term recess.
  2. After questions to the ministerial team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, William Hague set out forthcoming business in the Commons.
  3. There were three backbench debates today: on pubs and planning legislation; on the destruction and looting of historic sites in Syria and Iraq and the mental health of Londoners.
  4. Peers met at 11.00 GMT and after oral questions, passed the second reading of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

And that's it...

House of Commons

Parliament

Thank you for being with us today - that's the end of the day's business in the Commons.

MPs and peers now adjourn for the half-term recess and will return on Monday 23 February. Join us then.

Whisky galore

House of Commons

Parliament

Bottles of whisky on display in the Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection, the world"s largest collection of Scottish Whisky on display at The Scotch Whisky Experience
Getty Images

Success story

House of Commons

Parliament

Now Priti Patel, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, endorses the view that whisky is an economic success story, which supports over 40,000 jobs.

Good health

House of Commons

Parliament

Alan Reid is urging for a cut in the duty of whisky. He calls Scotch whisky a "British success story"; and finishes with a "good health" or "sláinte".

Time for a tipple?

House of Commons

Parliament

And now for the adjournment debate.

Lib Dem MP Alan Reid is leading this debate on the economic contribution of the Scotch whisky industry.

Petition

House of Commons

Parliament

Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, is presenting a petition on the closure of a Barclays bank branch in her constituency town, St Agnes.

Londoners' mental health needs

House of Commons

Parliament

According to the

London Health Board, Londoners have higher levels of mental health needs compared to the rest of England.

The board aims to start an open access digital mental health service to help Londoners with untreated mental disorders.

The Office of National Statistics' Annual Population Survey for 2012-13 found that 41.3% of people in London said they had "high anxiety" compared with 38.5% elsewhere in the UK.

The survey found 26.2% of Londoners said they had low life satisfaction - with the rest of the UK recording 23%.

'Highest rates' in the country

House of Commons

Parliament

Health Minister Jane Ellison is replying to the debate on mental health services in London.

Ms Ellison, who is the Conservative MP for Battersea in south London, says: "London has the highest rates of mental ill health in the country."

'Pressures'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow health minister Luciana Berger, summing up for Labour, tells the House: "The pressures that mental health services across the country are experiencing are being acutely felt in London."

Luciana Berger
BBC

Mental health in London

House of Commons

Parliament

The 2014 London Mental Health Report estimated that 1.1 million Londoners have undiagnosed or untreated mental disorders.

The report by the Greater London Authority also estimated that 65,000 older Londoners experience dementia.

The impacts of childhood psychiatric disorders cost London's education system approximately £200m per year.

The report also states that London boroughs spend around £550m a year treating mental disorders.

LGBT mental health

House of Commons

Parliament

Diane Abbott says London is a city where "young people come to find themselves" including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

"Sexual minorities are two or three times more likely to report having a long-standing psychological or emotional problem than their heterosexual counterparts," she adds.

She also raises "homophobic behaviour going unchallenged in the workplace and on London's public transport".

She asks the government what further training will be provided for NHS staff in dealing with LGBT mental health problems.

Mental health debate

House of Commons

Parliament

This is the third of the backbench debates today.

According to the London Health Board, Londoners have higher levels of mental health needs compared to the rest of England.

Diane Abbott
BBC

New debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Diane Abbott is now introducing a debate on mental health in London.

Government reply

House of Commons

Parliament

Foreign Office Minister David Lidington replies for the government to the debate on the destruction and looting of historic sites in Syria and Iraq.

David Lidington
BBC

Destruction in Iraq

House of Commons

Parliament

During the 2003, US-led invasion of Iraq, the Baghdad Museum was looted and more than 15,000 objects were lost.

The Baghdad Museum contained some of the best examples of ancient Mesopotamian artefacts, which were up to 7,000 years old.

A British Library report found that coalition vehicles had crushed 2,600-year-old brick pavements and trenches had been dug across sites.

More recently, there have been reports of the deliberate destruction of historical artefacts by groups such as Islamic State.

Destruction in Syria

House of Commons

Parliament

Satellite analysis has shown the extent of the damage to Syria's cultural and historical heritage from the civil war in the country.

The images show that five out of six of Syria's Unesco World Heritage sites have been "significantly" damaged.

Sites include Aleppo's Great Mosque, the ancient city of Bosra, the site of Palmyra, and Crac des Chevaliers castle.

The city of Aleppo in northern Syria dates back to 2,000 BC and has seen some of the heaviest fighting of the civil war. The Great Mosque's 50m-tall Seljuk minaret, which dates back to 1095, collapsed as a result of shelling in March 2013.

UK politics 'pales in significance'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh says he heard a sermon from Archbishop Warda, the Chaldean-Catholic Archbishop of Erbil in northern Iraq.

He says the political battle at prime minister's questions "pales in significance when you listen to a man like Archbishop Warda talking about his community".

Sir Edward tells the House that 25,000 Christian families have fled the Nineveh plain and 125,000 people are homeless.

End of Lords business

House of Lords

Parliament

After a short debate peers give their backing to the 17 instruments brought before them, bringing business in the House of Lords to an end for today.

Peers now break for a short recess and will be back on Monday 23 February.

Stay with us this afternoon as MPs continue their debate on the destruction and looting of historic sites in Syria and Iraq.

Hague Convention

House of Commons

Parliament

Robert Jenrick argues that the UK can act by raising the matter at the UN, "in our relationships with the Gulf states" who often provide a market for looted works of art, and "bringing into law the Hague convention".

The

Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted in 1954 following the destruction of cultural heritage in World War II.

'Shocking and shameful'

House of Commons

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Robert Jenrick says Islamic State has been responsible for destruction of historic sites and documents.

He says that in the library at Mosul in northern Iraq, they destroyed "all the books that they took issue with, including the entire children's section".

He adds: "How shocking and shameful it would be if the West did nothing in the face of this destruction."

Robert Jenrick
BBC

Historic sites in Syria and Iraq

House of Commons

Parliament

That's the end of the debate on pubs.

The next topic is the destruction and looting of historic sites in Syria and Iraq.

Conservative MP Robert Jenrick is opening the debate.

‏@nengelmp

Labour MP Natascha Engel tweets: @CLeslieMP winding up the debate now. I think we have made a strong case and hope @swilliamsmp will think about what we have said.

'Support your local pub'

House of Commons

Parliament

Communities Minister Stephen Williams, summing up for the government in the pubs debate, says he believes the number of pubs classified as assets of community value will grow.

He calls on communities to "support their local pub, use the community rights we have given them and to nominate their local pub as an asset of community value".

Stephen Williams
BBC

Care Act legislation

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now turn to a series of statutory instruments needed to implement the Care Act 2014, which have been referred to the House by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee for special consideration.

Secondary legislation like these instruments is not normally debated in the House of Lords, but the committee recommended a debate in its

recent report on the grounds "that they give rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House".

Bill passes

House of Lords

Parliament

The Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill passes its second reading unopposed. It will now move on to a committee of the whole House.

The House adjourns during pleasure, effectively taking break, until 13.15 GMT to give ministers time to make it to the chamber for the next business.

Labour support

House of Lords

Parliament

Shadow frontbencher Baroness Sherlock gives the bill Labour's "full support to getting this onto the statute books with all possible haste."

She says she hopes this is the "last parliament ever that one set of benches is only open to men".

An open Church of England

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, reassures those who "on grounds of theological conviction are unable to receive the ministry of women priests or bishops" that the Church of England "will remain committed to enabling them to flourish".

The convener of the Bishops' bench says these people are guaranteed to continue to be in the "spectrum of teaching and tradition the Anglican communion".

Picture: the Bishops' bench

House of Lords

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A packed bishops bench
BBC
A packed bishops' bench listens to the arguments on the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill

Men get nervous too

House of Lords

Parliament

Fellow Conservative peer Baroness O'Cathain intervenes to warn Lord Cormack against making the argument that women will find it harder to become a bishop than they did to get a senior position in the armed forces or in business.

Baroness O'Cathain points out she was the first female board member for many businesses. "Of course I felt nervous, but not because I was women but because it was a new experience."

Even men find it nervous coming into the house of Lords. "I can see them, they're wobbling [during their maiden speeches]" she says.

Baroness O'Cathain
BBC

'Wholly' new set of challenges

House of Lords

Parliament

Senior Conservative peer Lord Cormack warns that the first female bishops will confront a "wholly different set of challenges", which may be more difficult to deal with as she will not have the same level of experience as male bishops; most male bishops, he says, have held the dioceses for over 20 years before joining the House of Lords.

While he has "no intention of opposing this bill" he feels it is right address the issues that that the first female bishops may need extra help when they join the House of Lords, to ensure "total equality amongst bishops".

'Odd' not to accept

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer and member of the Ecclesiastical Committee Lord Glenarthur tells peers he is naturally cautious about changing anything as well established as the Bishopric Act 1878.

But given the strength of feeling it would be "odd not to accept" what is near unanimous support for women bishops and accept this bill, allowing female bishops into the House of Lords "sooner than might otherwise be the case".

'Full of holes'

House of Commons

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Lib Dem Greg Mulholland describes the government's arguments as "full of holes".

He rejects the view "that launderettes, theatres and nightclubs are somehow more important than pubs".

Launderettes, theatres and nightclubs currently occupy a different planning category to drinking establishments.

He lists pubs which, he says, have been demolished or converted even though they had asset of community value status.

Greg Mulholland
BBC

'Beer tie' reform

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland, who chairs the All Party Save the Pub Group, praises MPs who voted for reform of the "beer tie" last November.

The government suffered a defeat during the passage of the Infrastructure Bill when MPs backed a new clause changing the law tying thousands of tenant landlords into beer supply contracts with large breweries and pub companies.

Some pub tenants subject to "beer ties", who had to pay more than the market rate for alcohol and could not purchase it from cheaper suppliers, hailed the introduction of an option to buy beer at the market rate instead.

However, the British Beer and Pub Association, which represents brewers and pub companies, said the legislation was "hugely damaging" and would campaign for it to be changed.

Beer glasses
Getty Images

Usual channels

House of Lords

Parliament

The former law lord, Lord Lloyd, ends his speech by praising the "usual channels" for bringing the bill forward so quickly.

This refers to the backroom discussions between the whips and party managers of the various political parties.

Order of seniority

House of Lords

Parliament

Male bishops would continue to enter the Lords in accordance with the Bishoprics Act 1878 if there were no female bishops.

The 1878 Bishoprics Act requires bishops to be admitted to the Lords according to a strict order of seniority.

Archbishop of Canterbury

House of Lords

Parliament

The most senior person in the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is speaking now and welcomes the move.

"Women should be fully represented in all levels of society, parliament and the church and I look forward to seeing that happen," he states.

‏@CLeslieMP

Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie tweets: "@planning4pubs: Have had personal assurance fr @khopkinsmp that 'ACV PD prot w be delivered b4 election' @CLeslieMP @ThePubChampion">great!

Sui generis

House of Commons

Parliament

The backbench motion in the Commons today calls on the government to "put pubs into the sui generis category so that communities can comment on a proposal to convert or demolish a pub".

Sui generis is a unique planning category, which refers to a use on its own. No change of use is allowed without permission.

Theatres, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi businesses, amusement centres and casinos already fall into this category.

Time limit

House of Lords

Parliament

The bill makes time-limited provision for vacancies among the 21 Lord Spiritual to be filled by eligible female bishops.

Bishops cease to be peers at the age of 70 when they are required to step down from their sees.

The legislation states that if there are two or more eligible female bishops, it would go to the longest serving.

The proposed new law favouring female diocesan bishops in terms of future membership would apply for 10 years.