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Summary

  1. MPs and peers both met at 14.30 GMT. MPs' day began with questions to the education ministerial team.
  2. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper was granted an urgent question on the government's counter-terrorism policy.
  3. MPs then proceeded with an Estimates Day, in which the two subjects under discussion are devolution in England and the next Defence and Security Review.
  4. The adjournment debate was on the extension of the Warm Home Discount Scheme to Northern Ireland.
  5. Peers began their day with oral questions; followed by the third reading of the Recall of MPs Bill.
  6. Following that the Serious Crime Bill passed what is likely to be its final stage in the House of Lords.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from the Commons

House of Commons

Parliament

And that's it for today's live coverage of Westminster.

MPs meet again tomorrow from 11.30 GMT for Foreign Office questions.

The main business is the third estimates day, focusing on work and pensions and health spending.

'All-Ireland' market

House of Commons

Parliament

Energy and Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd, replying for the government, says that extending the scheme to Northern Ireland would require new legislation.

In addition, Northern Ireland is part of an "all-Ireland energy market" and only "the largest supplier" would meet the criteria to take part in the scheme.

This could distort the single energy market, the minister argues.

About the Warm Home Discount

House of Commons

Parliament

The

Warm Home Discount is a government scheme to help households at risk of fuel poverty in England, Scotland and Wales.

The scheme offers eligible people a one-off discount on their electricity bill.

To be eligible, people must be in receipt of the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, which tops up pensioners' weekly income.

A different scheme known simply as

Warm Homes, offering insulation and heating measures to households in receipt of a qualifying benefit, is available in Northern Ireland.

Scheme not available

House of Commons

Parliament

Margaret Ritchie, the SDLP MP for South Down, is leading tonight's adjournment debate.

She says that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK in which the Warm Home Discount is not available.

Margaret Ritchie
BBC

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

That concludes today's estimates day debates.

There will be more tomorrow, as MPs consider a report by the Work and Pensions Committee on support for housing costs in the reformed welfare system, and a report by the Health Committee on children's and adolescents' mental health.

Finally tonight, the adjournment debate concerns the extension of the Warm Home Discount Scheme to Northern Ireland.

'Balanced' budget

House of Commons

Parliament

Defence Minister Mark Francois, summing up for the government in the defence debate, says: "The world simply does not stand still and events will not give us rest."

He says the government inherited "chaos" from Labour in 2010 and "the budget is now back in balance".

Mark Francois
BBC

'Proper defence review'

Shadow defence minister Kevan Jones says a future Labour government would meet current defence spending commitments in 2015-16.

He says Labour would hold "a proper defence review" examining "our role in the world".

Kevan Jones
BBC

'Yes to 2%'

House of Commons

Parliament

"Yes to 2%. Yes to a full commitment to Nato," says Conservative MP Neil Carmichael, speaking in the estimates day debate on defence spending.

Nato has set a target that member states should each spend a minimum of 2% of their national wealth or GDP on defence.

Nato defence spending falls

Jonathan Beale

Defence correspondent, BBC News

Despite the Ukraine crisis and increasing tensions with Russia, most Nato members are doing little to reverse the

decline in their defence spending.

The promises and rhetoric that they will meet the threat is not matched by reality.

New research by Ian Kearns and Denitsa Raynova of the European Leadership Network (ELN) found that six countries, including two of the biggest defence spenders in Europe, the UK and Germany, will cut defence expenditure in 2015.

Defence spending in France, the other big spender in Europe, will remain static.

Royal Navy Wildcat Attack helicopter in flight in Somerset in 2013
Ministry of Defence
The UK will cut defence spending in 2015

Housing modernisation call

House of Commons

Parliament

The Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, Sir Bob Russell, uses his speech to call for the modernisation of housing for serving military personnel and their families.

"As a moral obligation, the government should do it," he says, proposing that it could be funded from "the proceeds from the sale of radio spectrum which the Ministry of Defence no longer requires".

He adds: "It's a disgrace that the Ministry of Defence - this government - has failed so many families."

Sir Bob Russell
BBC

About Nato

House of Commons

Parliament

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was formed in 1949 at a time of post-war communist expansion.

Nato now has 28 member states in Europe and North America.

The alliance's stated aim is "to safeguard the freedom and security of its members by political and military means".

Members agree that an armed attack against one is an attack against them all.

US Army chief's 'concern'

House of Commons

Parliament

Tonight's debate follows comments by US Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, who said he was "very concerned" about the impact of spending cuts on the UK's armed forces.

He warned that falling defence spending could result in British units operating within US ranks, rather than divisions working alongside each other.

The Ministry of Defence said the government was committed to spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK remained a "very strong and capable partner" for the US.

General Raymond Odierno
AP
General Raymond Odierno said he concerned about UK military capability

'Uncertainty'

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Nicholas Soames says the world has moved from "absolute certainty - the Cold War" to uncertainty with the "War on Terror".

He claims that "leading edge" research and development will be needed.

Russian 'doctrine'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Sir Hugh Bayley says that Russia under Vladimir Putin has displayed a doctrine in which it "reserves the right to intervene in other states" where there are Russian speakers.

This includes not only Ukraine but Georgia and Moldova, he adds.

Sir Hugh is a former president of the

Nato Parliamentary Assembly, a forum for parliamentarians from across the alliance.

Opening speech

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Rory Stewart, the chairman of the Defence Select Committee, is making the opening speech in the defence debate.

Rory Stewart
BBC

End of Lords business

House of Lords

Parliament

And that brings to an end today's business in the House of Lords.

Peers will be back tomorrow at 14.30 GMT when the main legislation will be the report stage of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Stay with us tonight as the House of Commons continues with its Estimates Day debate on defence spending and the next defence and security review.

Bill passes

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers give their backing to all of the Commons amendments and the Serious Crime Bill passes what is likely to be its final stage in the House of Lords.

Defence review debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs are now debating a report from the Defence Select Committee.

Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part Two-NATO was published in July last year.

Defence and security reviews set out the government's defence priorities and decide the future shape and size of the UK's armed forces.

Amendment withdrawn

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Strasburger withdraws his amendment and the government provisions go through unopposed.

Journalist sources

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Strasburger
BBC

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Strasburger is on his feet arguing that he protection given to journalistic sources needs beefing up. He re-tables an amendment similar to the one he and his colleague Julian Huppert had tabled at previous stages of the bill, which would prevent police officers access to journalists' phone records or confidential material without permission from a judge - as recommended by the

Independent Interception Communications Commissioner.

The government have proposed a concession that would require any code of practice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to include provisions which protect the public interest in the confidentiality of journalistic sources, and argue that the Serious Crime Bill is not the right vehicle for Lord Strasburger's amendment

Closing speech for the government

House of Commons

Parliament

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins says he agrees with the select committee that local government leaders must be "at the heart of the debate over English devolution".

Kris Hopkins
BBC

Local government 'emasculated'

House of Commons

Parliament

Summing up for Labour in the debate on English devolution, shadow local government minister Andy Sawford says that "councils, rather than feeling empowered by this government, feel emasculated".

He adds that local authorities have faced "the biggest cuts" in public spending.

Andy Sawford
BBC
Labour's Andy Sawford speaks at the despatch box

'We do not need an English Parliament'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Simon Danczuk backs "fiscal devolution" to local government.

"We do not need an English Parliament creating yet another tier, another layer, between people and power," he argues.

He believes that people should not be concerned if devolution happens "at different rates in different areas".

Mandatory reporting on FGM

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers back plans to create a mandatory duty on health professional and teachers to notify police of female genital mutilation within one month of becoming aware of the crime.

'Devolution to England'

House of Commons

Parliament

The Conservative MP for Wokingham, John Redwood, says: "If we are going to have devolution in England, we first need devolution to England."

He argues that England needs more powers over areas such as transport, as there are "more generous devolution settlements now being offered to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland".

'Deathbed repentance'

House of Commons

Parliament

Austin Mitchell, the Labour MP for Great Grimsby, describes devolution to Greater Manchester as a "deathbed repentance by a government which had centralised continuously in a country that is over-centralised already".

He claims that a concentration of power in London and the south-east of England "needs to be reversed so the rest of us can have a chance".

He also jokes that the government is building a "northern powerhouse on the wet side of the Pennines rather than on the hardworking, intelligent, serious part".

Austin Mitchell
BBC

Sexual communication offence

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers agree to create a new offence of sexual communication in an effort to stop paedophiles asking for explicit photos from children on mobiles or online, even if it cannot be proved that they have received an illegal image.

The new offence will carry a sentence of up to two years in prison and allow police and prosecutors to pursue those who attempt to groom children online regardless of whether the message was responded to or not.

Serious Crime Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers now move the consideration of Commons amendments to the Serious Crime Bill.

Straight away, peers agree to accept the Commons' suggestion to place a duty on banks and other institutions to provide "suspicious activity reports" to the security services if they suspect money laundering or financing of terrorism by their clients.

The provision is accepted unanimously.

Manchester health devolution

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Graham Stringer, a former leader of Manchester City Council, welcomes "the devolution of the health budget" to the region so that "health and social care can work together".

It has been announced that Greater Manchester is to become the first region in England to get

full control of health spending.

Ten councils will take over the local NHS budget from April next year, and integrate it with social care which they already run.

The combined budget will be worth about £6bn a year.

Manchester Town Hall
BBC
Details of the plan were announced at Manchester Town Hall

Teachers' fault?

House of Lords

Parliament

Former Conservative Cabinet member John Gummer, now Lord Deben, complains that teachers are being unfairly blamed for the radicalisation of fighters such as Mohammed Emwazi.

The government should stop people pointing the finger at teachers who have "done a job and trying to do it as well as possible", and are now being blamed for something they could not have prevented, he says.

Travel advice

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bishop of Norwich asks for advice for UK citizens who have family members in the conflict zone and may be tempted to travel and fight "for their protection".

Lord Bates says the government recommends no-one travels to the conflict zones.

Counter narrative needed

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee argues that it is "fundamentally important" to understand the motivation of young people who are drawn to fight in Syria, and disseminate "a counter narrative" to combat radicalisation.

Lord Bates says these functions are carried out by the government's 'Prevent' and 'Channel' strategy.

Relocation power

House of Lords

Parliament

During the earlier statement, Theresa May refused to accept claims made by Labour that her decision to scrap control orders - which contained powers to relocate targets - in 2012 and replace them with TPIMs (terrorism prevention and investigation measures) enabled two of Mohammed Emwazi's associates to abscond.

Tpims did not allow relocation until very recently, when their powers were increased in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act.

Counter Terrorism Statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Home Office Minister Lords Bates is now repeating Theresa May's statement on removing relocation powers which facilitated the travel of individuals to Syria.

Important government statements made in the House of Commons will sometimes be repeated in the Lords at an appropriate time to fit in with the main business.

Once the statement has been repeated, peers have an opportunity to quiz a government minister on the content of the statement, as in the House of Commons.

Recall Bill passes

House of Lords

Parliament

And with that the Recall of MPs Bill passes its final stages in the House of Lords. The bill 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.

More powers for local authorities

House of Commons

Parliament

Clive Betts suggests that further powers could be devolved to local authorities including council tax bands, business rates and the work programme.

Government concession

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers agree to a government concession to reduce the period in which a recall petition is available for signing from eight weeks to six, and requiring a report on the process to be published.

Cabinet Office Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble tells peers this period "would strike the right balance between tightening the process and allowing proper access to signing".

Keeping current guidelines

House of Lords

Parliament

Cabinet office Minister Lord Wallace of Saltaire says that the government has no plans to change current guidelines, which allow lay members to sit on committees.

Indeed the Parliamentary standards committee has had three lay members since 2013 and may increase that number to seven - but does not allow these members to vote.

UK 'centralised'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Clive Betts, who chairs the Communities and Local Government Committee, says the UK is one of the most centralised countries.

The committee published its report -

Devolution in England: the case for local government - in June last year.

Clive Betts
BBC

Estimates day debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Responses to the urgent question are over and MPs move on to the estimates day debates.

The House of Commons sets aside three days during each year to consider the estimates of public spending by government departments.

In practice, this means debates on reports by select committees relating to a particular government department.

The first of these today is a report by the Communities and Local Government Committee on devolution in England.