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. MPs met at 09.30 GMT for questions to the Environment team; followed by questions to Church Commissioners, Public Accounts Commission and Speakers' Committee on the Electoral Commission.
  2. International Development Secretary Justine Greening will make a statement on the UK's response to the Ebola outbreak.
  3. Following the Business Statement, MPs held a debate on defence spending; and then on education regulation and faith schools.
  4. The adjournment debate was on innovations in HIV prevention.
  5. Peers met at 11.00 GMT with a packed day ahead. Following oral questions, the main legislation to consider included the House of Commons Commission Bill.
  6. There were debates on the Money Advice Service and on young care leavers.
  7. There was also be a short debate on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden.

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

End of business

House of Commons

Parliament

And that brings events in the House of Parliament to an end for today.

MPs are off tomorrow and won't return until Monday 16 March.

But in the Lords, peers will be in at 10.00 GMT tomorrow to consider private members' bills: including the committee stages of the Local Government (Religious etc Observances) Bill and the Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Bill.

New HIV treatment 'innovation' fund

House of Commons

Parliament

Health Minister Jane Ellison is responding to the adjournment debate.

She agrees that the government needs to be "more ambitious and more innovative" which is why she is "pleased to announce" a new innovation fund of up to £500,000 to provide £50,000 grants to local organisations who want to work in "new and innovative" ways to tackle HIV.

As of tomorrow groups can apply for grants, which will be handed out in the "late spring and early summer".

Compulsory education

House of Commons

Parliament

Mike Freer
BBC

Mike Freer tells MPs that there are 108,000 people living with HIV in the UK today, lower than in previous years.

But under the "headline figures" there are some "worrying" trends he says. The rate of HIV transmitted through sexual intercourse between men has increased 33% between 2004 and 2013, while the rate of HIV in black Africans is at "a similar level" to that of gay men.

He breaks with traditional Conservative ideology in calling for "compulsory" education on HIV in schools - alongside "prevention through intervention medication and medical intervention".

The subject is "too serious" and it is "wrong to get hung up about the ideology" he says.

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to today's last business, the adjournment debate - today led by Conservative MP Mike Freer on innovations in HIV prevention.

Government comments.

House of Commons

Parliament

David Laws
BBC

David Laws assures MPs that "faith schools have a vital role to play" in a modern "cohesive" Britain.

Where concerns about inspections of faith schools are raised the Education Department will work with schools to solve these, and where "myths are growing Ofsted will tackle these."

Accusations 'rebutted'

House of Commons

Parliament

Schools minister David Laws is now responding to the debate for the government.

He opens by telling MPs that a lot of the allegations made against Ofsted and schools in today's debate "are not accepted" and are being "currently being rebutted".

'Indoctrination'

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow education minister Kevin Brennan, who tells MPs he was educated in a Catholic comprehensive school, blames recent examples of "indoctrination" in faith schools on the "carelessness" of government ministers in rushing out the "free school policy" which led to many organisations being put in charge of schools "that shouldn't have been".

While Labour supports faith education in schools "taxpayers' money should not be handed over" to groups who try to "indoctrinate" children, he says.

Preventing 'abuses'

House of Commons

Parliament

Liberal Democrat Ian Swales, who indentifies himself as an atheist, says he supports allowing faith schools to teach their core beliefs as "it's about education not indoctrination" and supports the motion.

However, he highlights several "abuses" of education that have taken place in faith schools including the "teaching creationism as fact in science and biology" and refusing to teach girls "inappropriate" subjects.

He says he accepts that Ofsted may have been "overzealous" in some of the more moderate schools but argues there needs to be a system that is capable of picking abuses up.

@GlenysThornton

Labour peer Glenys Thornton tweets: Very pleased to mention the brilliant work of @RestlessDev in Sierra Leone during the statement on #ebola. @Mary4Wakefield @Lord_Collins

'Very definition of intolerance'

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Edward Leigh
BBC

Sir Edward adds that faith schools are "great motors of social mobility" where students perform well "whatever the background of pupils".

This is doubly important as faith schools also tend to be ethnically diverse with "about a quarter of pupils coming from ethnic backgrounds other than white British."

But these schools are "under attack from the forces of intolerance" he warns, from groups such as the British humanist society, who want "ban faith schools" and attempt to "smear them with

what happened in Birmingham," Sir Edward says.

"That is the very definition of intolerance," he adds.

Lords adjourns

House of Lords

Parliament

That concludes today's debates in the House of Lords.

Peers meet tomorrow from 10:00 GMT to debate private members' bills, in their final Friday sitting of the current Parliament.

Stay with us today as MPs continue their debate on education regulations and faith schools.

Socially cohesive

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Edward, who tells MPs all six of his children have been through faith schools at some point, argues that these schools "do more for social cohesion than a thousand Home Office initiatives".

"Far from teaching intolerance" these schools teach "understanding and tolerance and love of god and love of neighbours".

Ebola: Mapping the outbreak

House of Lords

Parliament

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014, and has rapidly become the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976.

More from BBC News on the current epidemic

here.

Faith schools debate

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs now turn to the second of today's backbench business debates, this time on allowing faith schools to teach their core beliefs in the curriculum, led by Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh.

Motion passed

House of Commons

Parliament

MPs ultimately back the motion against the government's wishes by 37 votes to three, a majority of 34.

Though a vindication for those MPs that spoke in support of today's motion this vote is not binding on the government.

Division

House of Commons

Parliament

The MPs in the chamber, however, are unconvinced by Mr Dunne's comments and the motion is put to a vote.

The results of the division are expected at about 15:45 GMT.

UK health worker tests positive

House of Lords

Parliament

The statement comes after it emerged that a female British military healthcare worker in Sierra Leone

has tested positive for Ebola.

She was initially treated in the Kerry Town treatment unit in the country, then flown back to the UK by the RAF.

She has since been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in London.

'It's what you do with it'

House of Commons

Parliament

Philip Dunne concludes his remarks by reiterating that the government will maintain the current UK defence budget until 2015/16 when the defence budget will be subject to the defence spending review.

But he argues it's "not just about 2% of GDP, it's about how you spend it and what you're prepared to do with it"

Ebola statement

House of Lords

Parliament

Finally today, government spokesman Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth is repeating today's Commons statement on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, after a military health worker who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone is being flown home to the UK.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening made a statement to MPs earlier.

Global context

House of Commons

Parliament

Philip Dunne
BBC

Philip Dunne puts some of the figures into a global context, telling MPs that the UK "still has the second largest defence budget in Nato, and the largest defence budget in Europe" - some $8bn more than France, who have the second largest European defence budget.

This makes the UK's armed forces "amongst the most effective and deployable armed forces in the world".

'Close allies'

House of Lords

Parliament

Closing the debate on Dresden, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay of St Johns says the UK and Germany are "now close allies with a relationship that has never been better".

Baroness Anelay of St Johns
BBC

Government tributes

House of Commons

Parliament

Defence Minister Philip Dunne is now responding to the debate for government.

He begins by paying tribute to the MPs who've contributed to the debate who are stepping down at the general election, which now includes former defence secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Coventry bombing

House of Lords

Parliament

Liberal Democrat Lord Shipley speaks about the bombing of Coventry by German forces.

Coventry was attacked on 14 November 1940.

Over 500 people died and the heart of the city was razed to the ground.

The midlands city is now

twinned with Dresden.

Labour plan

House of Commons

Parliament

Shadow defence minister Kevan Jones is now responding to the debate. He avoids committing to a 2% of GDP target for defence spending but tells MPs that a future Labour government would not have the "fiscal straightjacket" put on them by commitment to reduced spending made by George Osborne.

The defence budget would be kept at its present level until 2015/16 and then Labour would start "a defence review to inform the debate on future budgets".

Conservative MPs can be heard shouting "it's exactly the same" - obviously, believing Labour's position is remarkably similar to the current government's.

Warnings of Bishop Bell

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Lord Lexden said a previous bishop, Bishop George Bell of Chichester, had given "solemn warnings" in the House of Lords during the Second World War.

How we conduct ourselves in war "affects the character of peace", Lord Lexden says.

He also pays tribute to the RAF, saying: "We must never forget the terrible losses of the heroic crews of Bomber Command."

In 2008,

an exhibition in Parliament marked the 50th anniversary of the death of George Bell, who spoke out against the blanket bombing of German cities.

Dresden firebombing

Commemorations took place in Germany last month to mark the

70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden.

An estimated 25,000 people died in the British and American attack, which began on 13 February 1945 and created a firestorm that left 33 sq km (12 sq miles) of the city in ruins.

Speaking at the city's Church of Our Lady, German President Joachim Gauck said the attack had "burned itself into the memory" of survivors.

The city was believed by Allied forces to be a vital Nazi command centre but the bombing remains controversial, with critics arguing it was disproportionate.

A photo taken from Dresden's town hall of the destroyed old town of the historic city after the allied bombings in February 1945
AFP
A photo taken from Dresden's town hall after the bombings shows the extent of the destruction to the city

'Touches many nerves'

House of Lords

Parliament

The Bishop of Coventry says he has been speaking to government ministers, urging them to involve the UK in the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden.

"My intention has not been to enter the continuing debate over the moral propriety or the military value of the bombing of Dresden," he tells peers, while acknowledging the seriousness of that debate.

"The bombing of Dresden which is scale of destruction and death touches many nerves," he adds.

He praises officials in Dresden for "their resolve to lead the commemoration in ways that serve the purposes of peace and reconciliation".

Defence as overseas aid

House of Commons

Parliament

Conservative MP Richard Drax uses his speech to tackle the thorny issue of overseas aid. He says there is proof that much of the money sent overseas in international aid "does not get where it was intended to go".

Because of this "we have to target the few resources we have for overseas aid better" and as there is "no one better to deal with an overseas predicament than armed services personnel" these funds should be spent on the defence budget first.

Dresden anniversary debate

House of Lords

Parliament

The third of today's short debates remembers the bombing of the German city of Dresden 70 years ago.

The Bishop of Coventry is opening the debate.

Bishop of Coventry
BBC

'Lessons from history'

House of Commons

Parliament

Bernard Jenkin
BBC

Senior Conservative backbencher Bernard Jenkin is on his feet arguing in support of the 2% commitment.

"The lessons of history are very clear; we cannot enjoy a soft power world unless we have recourse to hard power when we need to," he tells MPs.

Picture: Baroness Eaton

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Baroness Eaton - also a local councillor in Bradford - opens the debate on young carers.

Baroness Eaton
BBC

'Punching above our weight'

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour MP Paul Flynn quotes a number of military chiefs talking about Britain's involvement in Afghanistan, and accuses them of remaining silent about the risks.

"The great problem that we have is this myth that we must 'punch above our weight'," he says.

"Punching above our weight has meant in the last 20 years, that we spend beyond our interests and we die above our responsibilities."

Young care leavers debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative peer Baroness Eaton is opening a debate on young care leavers.

She has tabled a question asking the government what it will do to help young care leavers not able to "stay put" in foster care to make a successful transition to independence.

"

Staying put" allows care leavers to remain with their former foster carers after they turn 18.

About the Money Advice Service

House of Lords

Parliament

The government set up the Money Advice Service to provide free advice on personal finances, including debts, savings, pensions and mortgages.

Last year the Treasury asked Christine Farnish, a former chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, to review the service.

In 2013, MPs on the

Treasury Committee said the service was "not fit for purpose" and not a good use of taxpayers' money.

@CommonsHansard

Commons Hansard tweets: The

Official Report of questions about #DEFRA the Church Commissioners and the Electoral Commission are available

'Music without instruments'

House of Commons

Parliament

Sir Malcolm
BBC

Sir Malcolm continues, telling MPs that the "consequence of what is happening will be the kind of irreversible change that make it impossible to conduct a credible foreign policy".

The assets that the UK have in its foreign policy are its "diplomatic capability", its "intelligence capability" and its "military capability".

"Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments," he tells MPs.

Growing economy and growing defence budget

House of Commons

Parliament

Former Conservative defence secretary, now Independent MP, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, tells MPs he has held his tongue about the UK's cuts to the defence budget, partly because he sympathised with the difficulty of finding money for the armed forces "during times of austerity".

But this was based on the "clear assurance" from the prime minster that "once we came to resolving the economic crisis" there would be an "absolute necessity for real terms increases in defence expenditure, year on year".

We have now seen the government saying that the "UK is going through a period of remarkable economic recovery" he tells MPs.

@HayteratLords

Labour peer Dianne Hayter tweets: Labour's Maggie Jones on the Coalition's

depressing legacy for young care leavers via @LabourLordsUK ‏

Public perception

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's Gisela Stewart makes the argument that the public need to be convinced of the 2% target for it to be accepted.

Spending 2% of GDP on defence is part of the UK's "responsibility" to Nato, but it is is also "the responsibility of this House to show some leadership so we bring our voters with us", she says.

Money Advice Service debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers pass the House of Commons Commission Bill at second reading.

It now faces detailed consideration by a committee of the whole House on 18 March.

The next business is a debate on the Money Advice Service, led by Labour peer Lord Stevenson of Balmacara.