Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Treasury ministers answered questions from 11.30 GMT.
  2. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced a £200m extension of the Troubled Families programme, followed by an update on trade union reforms in the civil service from Francis Maude.
  3. The Deregulation Bill passed its final stages in the Houses of Parliament before MPs debated a motion to approve an EU document relating to subsidiarity.
  4. There was a backbench debate on the schools funding formula before former PM Gordon Brown led tonight's adjournment debate in what may be his last parliamentary speech.
  5. Peers met at 14.30 GMT for oral questions, followed by a debate on soft power and the UK's influence in the modern world.
  6. There was also be a debate on the Mental Capacity Act.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

House of Lords

Parliament

That brings today's live coverage of the Lords to an end.

Peers will return tomorrow from 15:00 GMT, when the main business will be the conclusion of the report stage debate on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Before that, the House of Commons meets at 11:30 GMT, with Prime Minister's Questions at noon.

Join us then.

Government response

House of Lords

Parliament

Justice Minister Lord Faulks, summing up for the government, welcomes the committee's report and denies that the government has shown "complacency, as some noble Lords suggest".

In its

response to the committee, the government said it aims "to ensure that implementation is strengthened and co‐ordinated and will consider the case for establishing a new independently chaired Mental Capacity Advisory Board".

The government said it shared "the House of Lords' concern at the lack of awareness" of the Mental Capacity Act and would "take a comprehensive approach to promoting implementation".

'Thousands detained'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour justice spokesman Lord Beecham welcomes the government's intention to set up a Mental Capacity Advisory Board and to review the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

He notes that, during the the Lords committee inquiry into the Mental Capacity Act, "witnesses suggested that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands are being detained without the protection of the law and without the means to challenge their deprivation".

Lord Beecham
BBC
Lord Beecham speaks from the opposition front bench

'Failures of implementation'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall says the Mental Capacity Act is remarkable in that "nobody has a bad word to say about it in principle".

She argues that there have been "failures of implementation", however.

The causes include "a lack of understanding among professionals and non-professionals", and a lack of resources, she adds.

Act praised

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Barker says the Mental Capacity Act is "a great piece of legislation that we passed in 2005".

But she calls on the government to "increase the quality of the monitoring and evaluation" of how the act is implemented.

Baroness Barker
BBC

More on the report

House of Lords

Parliament

The report's

summary states: "The Mental Capacity Act was a visionary piece of legislation for its time, which marked a turning point in the statutory rights of people who may lack capacity - whether for reasons of learning disability, autism spectrum disorders, senile dementia, brain injury or temporary impairment.

"The Mental Capacity Act placed the individual at the heart of decision-making. Capacity was to be presumed unless proven otherwise."

However, the Lords committee concluded that "vulnerable adults are being failed by the act designed to protect and empower them".

'Disappointed'

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Hardie says he is "disappointed" that the government rejected his committee's recommendation that a single independent body be responsible for implementation of the Mental Capacity Act.

He insists that the recommendation should be "implemented in full".

Lord Hardie
BBC

Opening speech

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbench peer Lord Hardie, who chaired the committee on the Mental Capacity Act, is opening the debate.

He says the report's "key recommendations" include one calling for the "overall responsibility for implementation of the Mental Capacity Act be given to a single independent body".

The other key recommendation concerned the "deprivation of liberty safeguards" in the act, which aim to ensure that people in care homes, hospitals and supported living are looked after in a way that does not inappropriately restrict their freedom.

The committee recommended that the government "undertake a comprehensive review" of the safeguards.

Mental Capacity Act debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The second of today's two debates in the Lords is on a report by the Select Committee on the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The

report gave the act post-legislative scrutiny, examining how it is working in practice.

The Mental Capacity Act sets out the conditions under which decisions may be taken on a person's behalf.

Lack of capacity is determined if the person is suffering a mental impairment or disturbance and relates to a person's ability to make independent decisions.

More from the report on soft power

House of Lords

Parliament

Soft power is a persuasive approach to international politics, making use of economic or cultural influence, and can enable nations to have influence far bigger than their population or military size would allow.

The House of Lords committee report concluded that the UK's soft power is "vital".

The report emphasised the importance of the UK's diplomatic relations, particularly with Commonwealth countries, and urged the government to consider diverting more resources to the embassy network.

The report also lauded the importance of institutions like the BBC and football's Premier League to the UK's image.

Government reply

House of Lords

Parliament

The nearly five-hour Lords debate on the report by the Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence is drawing to a close, as government spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire sums up.

He tells peers that the UK's "power of attraction in a partly-illiberal world has some competitors". Young people in the UK have been "attracted to radical Islam" and Russian influence has grown in eastern Europe.

He adds that the use of soft power must be "partly non-governmental" and "civil society" has to be involved.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
BBC

End of Commons business

House of Commons

Parliament

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

MPs will be back at 11.30 GMT for Northern Ireland questions, followed at noon by Prime Minister's Question Time.

But the theme of he UK's influence in the modern world continues tonight, as peers debate the UK's use of "soft power" in the House of Lords, so stay with us.

'New global economy'

House of Commons

Parliament

Gordon Brown coined the phrase "new global economy" - and in this "new global economy we need a reform to Europe to compete with an increasingly open and connected and competitive world", Matt Hancock argues.

'Odd' aversion to referendum

House of Commons

Parliament

Given Gordon Brown's parliamentary credentials, Mathew Hancock says, "it is odd" that Mr Brown is against an independence referendum.

"This house exists to ensure the great issues of our time are debated, and progress is secured through a vigorous exchange of ideas, and then a vote" - the pattern the independence referendum schedule will take, he argues.

'Battle of ideas'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour foreign affairs spokeswoman Baroness Morgan of Ely is summing up for the opposition in the debate on soft power and the UK's influence in the world.

She argues that, when combating groups such as Islamic State, "the battle of ideas is as important as the battle of weapons".

However, soft power is "not an alternative to hard power", she insists.

Baroness Morgan of Ely
BBC

Brown tribute

House of Commons

Parliament

Business Minister Matthew Hancock pays tribute to Gordon Brown. Since Mr Brown entered Parliament "he has been a warrior for social justice, a master at the despatch box, a chancellor who dominated both the Treasury and this house and a prime minister who gave nothing less than his all for this nation," he says.

Independence referendum

House of Commons

Parliament

Turning to the question of an independence referendum, he says leaving Europe, placing the UK "half in half out" would "make us even weaker than before."

"It would be a terrible irony at just at this moment when we are in a stronger position to lead in this ever more interdependent world if Britain opts out, leaving Britain Europe divided, Russia empowered and the US bypassing us in favour of a French-German axis", he adds.

'Vanguard in Europe'

House of Commons

Parliament

Gordon Brown
BBC

"Britain is not truly Britain if we are anything other than engaged [with Europe]" Gordon Brown tells MPs.

It's never the "British way to be anything but the vanguard in Europe at the continent's decisive moments", he says.

"And in doing so, we've made Europe the greatest instrument for peace the world has ever seen. As vital to ensuring stability now against Russian aggression as it was against Nazism", he argues.

Olympic legacy

House of Lords

Parliament

Lib Dem peer Lord Addington, who sat on the House of Lords' Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee following the London 2012 Games, talks of the role of sport in the UK's international influence.

He says that London 2012 "seems to be something of a beacon" which "gave us kudos".

He adds that the Paralympics were "incredibly useful in building up disability rights and awareness".

'How we engage with the world'

House of Commons

Parliament

Gordon Brown says "the British people have always had to choose how we engage with the world" and calls on MPs to ignore calls from "mostly" Conservative MPs to "defend British politics" against Europe "as if to be patriotic you have to be against Europe."

Those who argue this may "discount" the 3m British jobs, £200bn of annual exports and £350bn of inward investment linked to "our relationship with the continent", he says.

North Korea of Europe

House of Commons

Parliament

Gordon Brown has warned that Britain faces a friendless future as the "North Korea" of Europe if it leaves the European Union and seeks to forge a role in "Anglospheric" parts of the world such as Hong Kong,

in a Guardian article.

He also signalled that he was ready to speak out if a referendum is held on Britain's EU membership.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to today's final business, the adjournment debate.

There will be more than the usual interest in this debate on proposed reforms to trading relationships with Europe - which may be the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's final speech in the Commons.

Governemnt response

House of Commons

Parliament

David Laws
BBC

Schools Minister David Laws argues that when this government came to power, the "system for schools was opaque, irrational and unnecessarily complicated."

To counter this, he says, the government introduced "major reforms changes to local funding system, and the introduction of the

pupil premium and
minimum funding levels." These reforms will be "baseline into the funding for next year", he announces.

Worst funded constituency

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert tells MPs his Cambridge constituency is "currently the worst funded in the entire country" for schools, an average of £600 per pupil per year below the average.

This funding gap is leading to a "widening" attainment gap, he warns, and even though Cambridgeshire was recently awarded an extra £23.2m a year "its only half of the gap" with the national average, he says.

Ghandi and 'soft power'

House of Lords

Parliament

Indian-born entrepreneur and crossbench peer Lord Bilimoria says he was in India recently, talking about "hard power, soft power and smart power".

He tells peers: "If you're talking about soft power, there is no better example than Mahatma Ghandi."

He adds that a statue of

Ghandi, who led non-violent resistance to British rule in India, will be unveiled in Parliament Square on Saturday 14 March.

Mahatma Gandhi on a visit to Downing Street in 1931
Getty Images

Government reforms

House of Commons

Parliament

David Laws recently announced an extra £350m in 2015-16 for poorly-funded authorities in England's schools.

However, he also announced government plans to introduce a national funding formula will not be introduced until after the election.

Funding inequalities

House of Commons

Parliament

Many critics believe the national funding formula leads to inequalities in favour of more heavily-populated areas such as London and Manchester.

Schools Minister David Laws recently pointed out that schools with 3% of children on free school meals in Birmingham receive higher funding per pupil than schools in some rural areas with more than 30% of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Both the previous and current governments have trailed plans to reform the national funding formula, but without success.

'Focus on Commonwealth'

House of Lords

Parliament

Over in the Lords, the marathon debate on "soft power" and the UK's influence in the world continues.

Crossbench peer Lord Alton of Liverpool says: "Where better to focus our ring-fenced aid budget than on the Commonwealth, and especially on education?"

He also criticises UK visa arrangements for Commonwealth citizens.

'Long standing injustice'

House of Commons

Parliament

Robin Walker says the current school funding system is a "longstanding injustice" leading to glaring disparities that affect schools and constituencies .

He bemoans the fact that "key decisions" on school funding have been delayed until after the general election at the next spending review.

School funding debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs pass the motions unanimously, and now move to a shorter than expected backbench business debate on schools funding led by Conservative MP Robin Walker.

The debate has until 19.00 GMT to finish.

Undemocratic EU

House of Commons

Parliament

Jacob Rees-Mogg argues that the European Union is fundamentally undemocratic. There are no elections for European Commissioners, who are instead chosen by the governments of member states, which is why you have "relatively minor figures" being put forward for commissioner, he says.

The European Parliament produces the "most extraordinary kind of democratic accountability" because it does not represent a "single European people".

The needs of European citizens in different countries are too diverse to be dealt with by a single body, he argues.

European Scrutiny Committee debates

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg is using his speech to complain about the government's refusal to allow debates suggested by the European Scrutiny Committee, which he is a member of.

There are six debates suggested, some suggested over a year ago, which still have no time or date given for their debate, he tells MPs.

'Political elites'

House of Commons

Parliament

Kelvin Hopkins
BBC

Labour's Kelvin Hopkins argues that the "real power" in Europe doesn't reside in elected bodies, but lies with "political elites of the European Union" who make sure that parliaments have "comfortable majorities of euro-enthusiasts".

These public bodies then "go along with what the political elites really want".

But "euro-scepticism is a powerful force not represented in parliaments but in the general public" he warns, and it is vital that parliamentarians listen to the voices of their constituents.

'Essential precept'

House of Commons

Parliament

Former Conservative cabinet minister John Redwood says the former "fundamental principle" that no House of Commons could bind a future House of Commons has been undermined by its membership of the European Union.

There are "huge areas of work" now under "European law and European control" meaning MPs making pledges ahead of the forthcoming general election can no longer guarantee to deliver them.

That "essential precept that was the guarantee of our liberties of the British people" is now damaged, he adds.

'Don't talk about power'

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour peer Lord Judd, speaking in the debate on the UK's soft power, tells the House: "I do not like the use of the word 'power' in this context."

He suggests that the connotations of the word are "sinister" and he would prefer to talk about the UK's contribution to the world.

Lord Judd
BBC

Government stance

House of Commons

Parliament

The government's EU

Balance of Competences review found that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality have not been sufficiently rigorously applied - undermining, as the government says, the European Commission's legitimacy and potentially costing "British business billions".

While Europe Minister David Lidington's motion on the Commission's relations with national parliaments "deplores" the failure of the outgoing EU Justice Commissioner to respond to the concerns of national parliaments about the creation of a European Public Prosecutor.

European Commission reports

The European Commission's report on proportionality and subsidiarity - which govern the exercise of powers by the European Union - can be found

here.

The EU Commission's 2013 report on relations between the Commission and national parliaments can be found

here.

European Commission motion

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now move to debate two motions to approve the European Commission's reports on subsidiarity and proportionality, and the Commission's relations with national parliaments.

Is the UK still sure of its role on the world stage?

James Robbins

Diplomatic correspondent

As peers continue their debate on the UK's influence in the modern world, BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins asks

whether the country has lost its way in foreign policy.

Sunrise over the City of London
PA
The geographical location of London provides many advantages on the global stage

Motion passed

House of Commons

Parliament

With no further speeches from MPs the counter terrorism motions are passed unanimously.